U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs for non-U.S. citizens during COVID-19

U.S. Embassy Dublin
Consular Affairs

Last updated: November 16, 2021   

Due to the volume of inquiries we receive, we are only able to respond to individual questions that are not answered on this page or elsewhere on our website. Please, therefore, carefully review these FAQs to find the information you require. Any updates to Presidential Proclamations, travel restrictions, and visa operations will be posted on this page, so please bookmark this page and check back regularly.   

Starting on November 8, air travelers to the United States are required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of vaccination status prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States, with only limited exceptions. A COVID-19 test is also required.  We recommend you review the Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for International Travel for further details available here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/emergencies/covid-19-faqs-for-travel-to-the-us-information.html  

If you have a question about visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, or about a pending visa application, please carefully review the General Information section below in full, and then navigate to the Nonimmigrant Visa, Immigrant Visa, or Fiancé(e) section as appropriate for more information relevant to your circumstances.   

General Information   

Q: Is the U.S. Embassy in Dublin closed? Has my visa interview appointment been cancelled?   

The COVID-19 Pandemic continues to affect Embassy Dublin visa operations. Visa operations remain limited and wait times for appointments and processing times are longer than normal.   

The Embassy’s first priority is always the health and safety of customers and staff, and COVID-19 mitigation efforts require us to allow physical distancing in our small waiting room, which limits the number of appointments we can offer.   

Consular Section appointment priority is as follows:   

  1. Essential American citizen services   
  2. Immigrant visa services (family-based immigrant visa applicants, e.g. spouses, children, and fiancées of U.S. citizens)   
  3. Nonimmigrant visa services   

Please note the Embassy in Dublin will continue to observe and operate in line with Irish public health advice, and we expect wait times for appointments and processing times to be longer than normal for the foreseeable future.  We advise visa applicants not to finalize non-refundable travel plans unless/until they have their valid visa.   

Nonimmigrant visa appointments can only be scheduled through the Appointment Service, not via email with the Embassy.  If you need assistance, Appointment Service customer care is available strictly via this webpage.  If you already have a visa appointment at Embassy Dublin, please ensure that you monitor the email address that you used to register with the Visa Appointment Service, including your junk or spam folder, as that is how we will contact you if your appointment is postponed or cancelled. You may also log into your Appointment Service account for nonimmigrant visa appointment information.  If you need assistance, Appointment Service customer care is available strictly via this webpage.   

Please also keep in mind the following:    

  • Travelers in the United States should only depart with the understanding that travel restrictions may prevent their return and high demand for visa services may necessitate their being outside the United States for an extended period of time.  Pandemic conditions and travel restrictions under which persons may travel from Ireland to the United States have changed suddenly and unpredictably and may do so again.  Please review the latest information on travel restrictions available below.   
  • For those attending a visa appointment, if your visa is approved at the time of interview, please allow at least 10 working days for processing and the return of your passport. In some cases, processing might take longer.   
  • Please do not make non-refundable travel plans unless you have your passport with U.S. visa in hand.   
  • For those renewing by courier, please allow at least 15 working days, although processing may take longer.   
  • Our office is unable to provide updates on visa processing unless 15 working days or more have passed from your interview/receipt of all required documentation.  
  • To mitigate the risk of COVID-19, the Embassy does not permit in-person drop off/collection of documents.   
  • If you have an urgent need to travel and wish to be considered for an expedited appointment, please review the question I urgently need to apply for a visa. What should I do? 

Q: Is a negative COVID-19 test required for entry into the United States?   

As of November 8, travelers to the United States must show a negative COVID test taken within one calendar day for unvaccinated U.S. citizen travelers and unvaccinated foreign nationals who qualify for an exception to the vaccination requirement. For fully vaccinated travelers, regardless of nationality, travelers must provide proof of a negative test taken in the three calendar days prior to travel. Unvaccinated children will follow the testing regimen of their parents, i.e., unvaccinated children traveling with fully vaccinated parents will need to demonstrate a negative test taken within the previous three calendar days. Unvaccinated children traveling alone or with unvaccinated adults will need to test within one calendar day of departure. For more information, please visit the CDC website as the Embassy cannot answer vaccination or COVID-19 testing queries.  

Q: Will I be required to self-quarantine after I enter the United States?   

The Department of State recommends the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding quarantine regulations. As of the time of the last update, the CDC strongly encourages a two-week period of self-isolation.  Some states may have mandatory quarantine requirements.    

Q: I am in the United States and I am worried about overstaying my authorized  period of admission. What should I do?   

If you are in the United States, please visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website for information about how to apply to extend your stay.  While you are in the United States, any questions about your status are a matter for USCIS, not the Embassy.  Information and contact details can be found on the USCIS website.   

Q: I have scheduled an appointment. What can I expect when visiting the embassy?   

You will go through an airport-style security screening.  Due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), everyone entering the embassy who is 11 years of age or older must wear a face mask.   

You must not bring laptops or bags larger than a handbag or small backpack to your appointment as they are not permitted into the building and there are no storage facilities available.   

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus, you must reschedule your appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website here.  You must complete a 14-day self-isolation period before appearing at the Embassy.  If you are not able to complete the 14-day self-isolation before your scheduled appointment date, you must reschedule your appointment through the Visa Appointment Service website.   

To maintain physical distancing requirements, please arrive no more than 10 minutes before your appointment.  If you arrive late or without a face mask, you will not be permitted entry and will have to reschedule your appointment.  Our office may send you instructions 1-3 days before your appointment, so please check your email regularly.   

Q: Can I have a refund?   

As explained at the time of fee payment, visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you have paid the fee but not yet attended the visa interview, we will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee. Please monitor https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv/ for further information and updates.   

If you have attended your visa interview, the application fee was levied to cover the costs of adjudicating and processing the application. No refund is possible. Please see the relevant specific section below for information about visa validity, provided that your new purpose of travel is consistent with the type of visa you hold.   

I have a question about my existing visa application   

You can check your visa application status at:  https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx. 

Tracking information is available through your appointment service account and through An Post, which you can use to confirm delivery.   

If you need assistance with visa appointments, the courier, or a visa application, customer care is available at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv/information/contact_us.    

If your application is subject to additional administrative processing or is under review pending a decision on a waiver of ineligibility or for any other reason, that will remain the status of your case until you are advised otherwise.   

Now that you have read the General Information, review the section below for the specific information that applies to you.   

Specific Information for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants and Nonimmigrant Visa Holders   

Q: My nonimmigrant visa application at Embassy Dublin was refused under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act due to Presidential Proclamation 10143 or another Presidential Proclamation.  Can I restart that application now? 

The U.S. Embassy in Dublin will reconsider nonimmigrant visa applications that were refused 221(g) solely due to the applicant’s presence in a country covered by a regional COVID proclamation without the submission of a new application or requiring payment of a new visa application fee.  Eligible applicants who want their application reconsidered should email USVisaDublin@state.gov and include in the body of their email their full name, date of birth, and passport number..  Please also monitor the email address you used to file your visa application. 

Q: My interview for a nonimmigrant visa was cancelled. Can I get a refund?   

As explained at the time of fee payment, visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you have paid the fee but not yet attended the visa interview, we will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023, to allow applicants whose appointment was cancelled as a result of the suspension of consular operations an opportunity to schedule a new visa appointment with the already paid fee. Please monitor https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv/ for further information and updates.   

Please note that visa fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you wish to apply for a visa through another embassy or consulate, you will be required to pay a new application fee and complete a new Form DS-160.   

Q: I urgently need to apply for a Visa. What should I do?   

Please find instructions on how to apply for a visa through the U.S. Embassy in Dublin HERE.  Please note that the U.S. Embassy in Dublin cannot accept emergency appointment, called “expedite”, requests from applicants who do not reside in the consular district of the Republic of Ireland.   

If you are physically present in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, or Great Britain, please visit https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-gb/niv/information/faqs#need_earlier_appt for instructions on how to request an expedite in Belfast or in London. You may find contact information for the Consulate in Belfast and the Embassy in London at https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-information-services/. If you are physically present elsewhere, please review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for where you are for information.   

You may book a visa interview appointment for Dublin online. Please refer to our appointment website for step-by-step information about the application process.   

Once you have booked an interview date through the calendar in your Visa Appointment Service account, you can then use the ‘Request Expedite’ feature. You will be asked to briefly outline the reason that you must travel. The Nonimmigrant Visa Unit will review your request. If you need assistance, please contact customer service.   

Please note that appointment availability is limited, and we cannot guarantee that an expedited appointment will be available for you.  Please also be aware that an expedite request relates only to the date of the visa interview.  No expedited visa processing is available.   

Q: I am a student and I need to get my visa in time for my program. What can I do?   

If after following the instructions for applying to renew your visa and book an interview appointment you find that no appointments are available in time for your intended date of travel, please follow the instructions at the above question to request an expedited appointment.     

Q: When Itry to pay the visa fee, the payment and appointment system tells me there are no appointments available so I cannot pay. What can I do?

All appointment requests must be made through the appointment system, https://ais.usvisa-info.com/. If you are attempting to make appointments for more than one person, e.g. a family or married couple, due to daily appointment limitations for COVID-19 mitigation, we recommend that you not attempt to schedule as a group.  Instead, each applicant member of the family should have his/her own individual profile in the appointment system (or have a group profile already created broken out into individual profiles) and then, an appointment is made and paid for each person individually. If you need assistance with doing this, customer care is available and can be reached strictly via https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv/information/contact_us.

Please be advised that we are regularly adding appointments, so please check the system regularly if no appointments are available once the family members have individual profiles or if you already have an individual profile.

Travelers planning to renew their visas over the holiday period should check our appointment schedule on our visa service provider’s website at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-ie/niv.  If you depart the United States, you may not be able to obtain an interview according to your desired timeline. We do not consider routine travel requests to resume or begin work or school in the United States as qualifying for an expedited or emergency appointment.

If you need to extend or change your status while in the United States, please see https://www.uscis.gov/i-539.

Q: Can my nonimmigrant visa be extended?   

Nonimmigrant visas cannot be extended. However, the majority of nonimmigrant visas are valid for several years. Please check the visa in your passport to confirm the validity period of the visa in your case.   

Visa holders currently in the United States may be able to extend their stay through the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service. Information on applying to extend your stay is available here: https://www.uscis.gov/visit-the-united-states/extend-your-stay      

Specific Information for Immigrant Visa Applicants and Immigrant Visa Holders   

Q: My case is at the NVC and I have been waiting a long time, when will I have my  interview?   

If you are applying for an immigrant visa and the case is being processed by The National Visa Center (NVC), please click here and visit your CEAC account (if applicable) for information. Please contact NVC directly using the online contact form on that website if you still have questions. The Embassy cannot answer questions about cases currently pending with the NVC, including questions about expedite options or about appointments.   

Q: I have an immigrant visa. Is that the same as a Green Card? Am I an LPR?   

You are not a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) until such time as you apply for entry to the United States using your immigrant visa and you are admitted as an LPR by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official.  Any individual who has been issued an immigrant visa but who has not been admitted to the United States using that visa is considered an immigrant visa holder, not an LPR. 

When an immigrant visa holder is admitted as an LPR at a U.S. Port of Entry, their passport is stamped with the words “Processed for I-551 temporary evidence of lawful residence” which helps facilitate overseas travel while they are waiting for the Permanent Resident Card to be processed.   

Q: Can my immigrant visa be extended?   

Immigrant visas cannot be extended.  However, if you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you can request visa reissuance.   

If you were issued with an E-3 visa or a IR-1, CR-1, IR-2 or CR-2 visa as the spouse or child of a U.S. citizen that has now expired and you wish to move to the United States urgently, please contact us to check whether it is possible for your visa to be reissued on an emergency basis. Please provide the full names of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, plus the case number (typically DBL followed by ten digits).   

If you were issued with a different category of immigrant visa (not an IR-1, IR-2, CR-1, CR-2 or E-3 visa), please monitor our website for the latest updates. After normal visa operations have resumed and if your unused visa has expired, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit at that time to request visa reissuance. We will send you information about how to submit your passport, visa package (if applicable), and a letter explaining why you were unable to travel and requesting visa reissuance. Please note that you will be required to undergo a new medical examination and pay a new visa fee before the visa can be reissued. Please do not schedule a medical exam until instructed to do so by our office.   

If you are currently in the United States, please be aware that the expiration date of your visa has no bearing on your length of stay in the United States. Please check the stamp in your passport applied by officials at the U.S. Port of Entry for information about your authorized period of stay. See the FAQ above for information about how to apply to extend your stay.   

Q: I am a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and I am currently outside the United States. What should I do?   

U.S. Immigration law assumes that a person admitted to the United States as an immigrant will live in the United States permanently. Remaining outside the United States for more than 12 months may result in a loss of lawful permanent resident status.  Immigrants who hold permanent resident status and reside outside of the United States for more than 12 months without prior approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must obtain a new immigrant visa to return to the United States. Prior approval from USCIS consists of a re-entry permit which can only be applied for in the United States.  The holder of a USCIS re-entry permit may remain outside of the United States during validity period of re-entry permit normally up to 24 months. Information about travel and maintaining permanent resident status is provided through the USCIS website.   

Specific Information for Fiancé(e) Visa (K-1) Applicants and Fiancé(e) Visa Holders   

Q: Will my fiancé(e) visa case expire? Can I continue with the application process?   

If your application is being processed by the Embassy in Dublin, applicants are given 12 months from the date on which the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit writes to them with instructions about the status of their case in which to apply for the visa.   

If you have been advised that your case file has been forwarded to the Embassy in Dublin, you may refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents. Please do not schedule a medical exam until instructed to do so by our office. Please check this website regularly for updates about visa services and travel.  

If the fiancé(e) visa petition expires, you may request revalidation of the petition by providing a letter from the petitioner stating that you both remain legally free to marry and that you will do so within 90 days of your arrival in the United States. You should take the letter with you to your visa interview; do not mail or email the letter to the Embassy.   

Q: Can I extend my K-1 visa?   

Fiancé(e) visas cannot be extended.  However, if you are unable to travel within the validity period of your visa due to circumstances beyond your control, you can request visa reissuance. Please monitor our website for the latest updates. After normal operations have resumed and your unused visa has expired, please contact the Immigrant Visa Unit at that time to request visa reissuance. We will send you information about how to submit your passport, visa package (if applicable) and a letter explaining why you were unable to travel and requesting visa reissuance. Please note that you will be required to undergo a new medical examination and pay a new visa fee before the visa can be reissued. Please do not schedule a medical exam until instructed to do so by our office.   

Q: If my I-129F petition has expired, do I need to file a new one before I have a K visa interview?   

The I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) is valid for four months; however, consular officers may revalidate the I-129F petition in four month increments once processing of K visa applications resumes. For most cases impacted by the suspension of visa services or COVID-19 travel restrictions it will not be necessary to file a new I-129F petition.   

Any other questions   

If you have any further questions about visas, please see our website, including the Frequently Asked Question (FAQs), for detailed information. Please note that we will not respond to email inquiries if your question is addressed on our website.   

If your question is about ESTA or the Visa Waiver Program, please note that those programs are administered by the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CBP), not by this office. If you have ESTA questions after checking our website (including the FAQs) and the official ESTA website (including the Help section), you can find additional information and contact details for CBP through their Info Center website.   

If you have general questions about coronavirus (COVID-19), check our website for a list of useful resources.   

If your question is about current vaccination or COVID-19 testing requirements for travel to the United States, please visit the CDC website as the Embassy cannot answer vaccination or COVID-19 testing queries.  For information on COVID-19 testing in Ireland, please visit HERE.  Exceptions to these requirements are limited and rare, like an emergency medical evacuation that must occur to preserve someone’s health and safety, and testing and/or vaccination cannot be completed before travel. For more information please visit HERE. 

If you have question about flights, please contact your airline or travel agent.