Ask the Consul – July 2020

Consular operational status, Nonimmigrant and Immigrant visa interviews, disruptions caused by the pandemic

Q: Is the Consular Section open?

A: The Consular Section is open on a limited basis for American Citizen Services (ACS) and emergency cases.  Routine visa operations remain closed in Guyana and U.S. Embassies worldwide due to COVID-19 restrictions.  The U.S. Embassy recently entered Phase 1 of the following reopening plan:

Phase 1: Some of our employees will return to the Embassy, allowing us to resume limited processing of applications and emergency cases already received.  We will continue to prioritize emergency services for customers by appointment only. Customers must wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including our lobbies, and observe strict social distancing.  During Phase 1, we will continue to recommend customers contact us via email before attempting to visit the Embassy.

Phase 2: Most staff will return to offices and we will be able to resume more processing of U.S. passport applications and offer limited visa appointments.  We will continue prioritizing emergency cases.  Staff and customers should wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including our lobbies, and continue to observe social distancing.

Phase 3: All remaining staff will return to resume normal operations. We will offer a processing time commitment for routine services in this phase.  You should continue to schedule your appointment online.  Staff and customers will still be recommended to wear cloth face coverings in common areas and we will encourage social distancing.

If you are a U.S. citizen who received an automated message from the ACS Unit informing you that your passport, federal benefits document or Consular Report of Birth Abroad is ready for pickup, please confirm with ACS via email at or via phone at 600-2017 to confirm a pick up date and time before attempting to travel to the consular section.  For non-medical emergencies, please email us at or call 592-225-4900 or 1-888-407-4747. From Overseas call +1-202-501-4444.  The U.S. Embassy staff are receiving many calls and emails daily.  Please be patient as they are returning calls and emails as quickly as they can.

Q: I am a U.S. Citizen interested in returning to the U.S., will there be another flight?

A: The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) announced that the phased reopening of the country’s international airports will be delayed by one month to August 1 due to the spike in COVID-19 cases.  We continue to monitor the situation. If additional flights become available, we will notify all U.S. Citizens using our travel alert system: the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). If you are not enrolled in STEP yet, you can enroll at

Guyana’s National COVID-19 Task Force has used Eastern Airlines for repatriation flights, so you may also find it useful to monitor Eastern’s website at

Q: I had my Immigrant Visa appointment scheduled during this time. When will I be able to reschedule?

A: When we resume routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa interviews, you will be able to reschedule your appointment through, or our call center 1-877-246-6788 (local) or 703-988-5765 (U.S). If you have an urgent need to travel, follow the procedure to request an expedited appointment at  Even emergency appointments are substantially delayed at this time. There is no fee to change an appointment and visa application fees are valid for one year in the country where the fee was paid.  We will post updates on Facebook and Twitter, as well as the Embassy website, when we reopen for appointments:

  • Twitter: @EmbassyGuyana

For case-specific questions email us at:

  • Georgetown (GEO) and Paramaribo (PRM) Cases:
  • Havana (HAV) Cases:

Q: How does the recent Presidential Proclamation affect my Immigrant Visa petition?

On Monday, June 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants and nonimmigrants who present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the coronavirus outbreak.  Effective immediately, the proclamation extends the suspension through December 31, 2020, unless continued by the President.  U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens who are or were inside the United States or those holding valid nonimmigrant or immigrant visas on the effective date are not subject to the proclamation.

The proclamation contains exceptions for certain categories of immigrant visas, including spouses and children (categories IR1, CR1, IR2, CR2, IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4) of U.S. citizens.  In addition, the proclamation explicitly states that cases involving a child applicant who may age out may be considered for a national interest exception. Your visa category is listed on your I-797 form.  For more information go to:

Fiancé (K category) visas are not affected by the Presidential Proclamation but should still expect significant processing delays due to other COVID-19 processing restrictions.

Cases for parents of a U.S. citizen (IR-5), adult children of a U.S. citizen (F1 and F3), siblings of U.S. citizens (F4), and cases for family members of a legal permanent resident petitioner (F2A and F2B) are suspended by the Presidential Proclamation.

Q: I have a relative that is visiting the United States on a visitor’s visa and has not been able to return due to COVID 19 airline cancellations. What can they do about their visa status?

A: USCIS recognizes that non-immigrants may unexpectedly be forced to remain in the United States beyond their authorized period of stay because of travel restrictions stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  If visa holders anticipate that they will be in the 1U.S. beyond their authorized period of stay, they should file for an extension of their stay.  The form (I-539) and detailed filing instructions can be found at or

We also encourage you to review the following message from USCIS, which provides extensive guidance on the process:

Q: How have recent events impacted the Diversity Visa program?

A: On April 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak.  The proclamation was continued by President Trump on June 22, and will expire on December 31, 2020, unless continued. Applicants for immigrant visas covered by the proclamation, including Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) applicants, who have not been issued an immigrant visa as of April 23 are subject to the proclamation’s restrictions unless eligible for an exception.  No valid visas will be revoked under this proclamation.  If you were previously issued a visa for the DV-2020 program that was valid on April 23 and that visa expired before you were able to travel to the United States, please contact the U.S. Embassy where your visa was issued for further information.  All DV-2020 entrants who were selected must be found eligible for, and obtain, their visa or adjust status by September 30, 2020.  This deadline cannot be extended. This same strict deadline also applies to spouses and children of principal applicants.

All DV-2021 diversity visa program applicants must be found eligible for, and obtain, their visa or adjust status by the end of fiscal year 2021 (September 30, 2021).

“Ask the Consul” is a monthly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. Detailed information about visas and travel can be viewed at, and Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently, and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information. Please contact our Visa Information Service Center on toll free numbers: 1-877-246-6788 or 703-988-5765 if you have general visa questions.