Ask the Consul – May 2020

COVID 19 Concerns for U.S. Citizens and their family members while abroad,  Immigrant/Non-Immigrant Visa applicants with previously scheduled appointments, Diversity Visas and the Presidential Proclamation: 

Q:  I am a US Citizen interested in returning to the US, will there be another flight?
A:  We continue to monitor the situation.  If additional flights become available, we will notify all US Citizens using our travel alert system, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  If you are not enrolled in STEP yet, you can enroll by going to:

Stay Informed, Stay Connected, Stay Safe!

Q: I am a US Citizen and I have an emergency.  Is anyone available to help me?

A:   If you have a medical emergency, please go to your nearest medical center or call 911.  If you need to contact the US Embassy to report a death of a US Citizen or birth abroad please email us at  At this time walk-in appointments are very limited. For other emergencies you can contact:

  • 592-225-4900
  • 1-888-407-4747
  • From Overseas +1 202-501-4444
  • For COVID 19 related questions go to or contact the Ministry of Health Hotline for your region:
    • Region 2: 682-4210
    • Region 4: 231-1166
    • Region 7: 675-9131
    • Region 8: 608-7517
    • Region 9: 777-2206
    • Region 10: 444-3007

Q:  I had my Immigrant Visa appointment scheduled during this time.  When will I be able to reschedule?
A:  Routine nonimmigrant and immigrant visa interviews are cancelled in Guyana and other U.S. Embassies worldwide, due to COVID-19 restrictions.  When we resume normal operations, 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.

Q:  I received my Immigrant Visa packet but will not be able to travel because of the current situation. What will happen if my Visa expires? Can I still travel to the U.S.?
A:   You must enter the United States before your visa expires.  An immigrant visa is usually valid for up to six months from the date of issuance unless your medical examination expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than six months.  A consular officer can re-issue an immigrant visa that has expired if the petition is still valid.  You may need a new medical examination and updated documents, such as police certificates, and in most cases a new visa fee must be paid.  Once we resume normal operations, you will be able to schedule a visa appointment through, or our call center 1-877-246-6788 (local) or 703-988-5765 (U.S).  You will need to provide a copy of your expired visa.  If you have an urgent need to travel, you can request an expedited renewal of your visa by email to:

 Q: I paid for a nonimmigrant Visa appointment will I have to pay again when I reschedule my appointment?
A: 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.  For questions about rescheduling a pending consular appointment, please contact us at,, or call +1 877 246 6788 for specific guidance.

Q: How does the Embassy plan to keep me safe during my appointment?
A:  The Embassy is taking the COVID 19 pandemic very seriously and will follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines as well those of the Government of Guyana closely.  We will continue to keep social distancing a priority, provide hand sanitizer at all interview windows and as well as soap in the washrooms to encourage handwashing.  We ask that you wear a face covering.  We will follow public health guidelines in place closely to keep applicants and our staff safe and healthy.

Q: Where and when will I be able to apply for the Diversity Visa:
A: Opening of the DV-2021 program is June 6, 2020. There is no fee to enter. You can find information about the application process at:         

Q: How can I find out if I was selected for the Diversity Visa?
A: It is very important for entrants to keep a record of their unique confirmation number until at least September 30, 2021.  It is the only way to check whether an entry has been selected and to obtain visa application and appointment information, if selected. The unique confirmation number helps to protect DV entrants against fraud, malfeasance, and problems with the mail. Unscrupulous visa facilitators have been known to assist entrants with their entries, retain the confirmation page, and then demand more money in exchange for information on the entry.  Entrants can avoid this by ensuring they receive the unique confirmation number at the time of entry.

Q: What is the new Presidential Proclamation on Immigration?

A: On April 22, 2020, 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 is effective at 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 23 and expires in 60 days, unless continued by the President.  U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and those holding valid immigrant visas on the effective date of the Proclamation, are not subject to the proclamation.  No valid visas will be revoked under this Proclamation.  The full text of the presidential proclamation is available on the White House website at:

 Q: Are there exceptions?
A: The proclamation provides exceptions to its restrictions for certain categories of immigrants, including: certain healthcare professionals, aliens seeking to enter the United States pursuant to an EB-5 investor visa, spouses and children (categories IR2, CR2, IR3, IH3, IR4, IH4) of U.S. citizens, members of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces. For more information go to:

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: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  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 U.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:


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


Q: I am a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) unable to return to the United States because there are no flights.  What happens if I stay outside of the United States more than six months?
A: USCIS determines whether green card holders have maintained a permanent residence:  Once we reopen for normal operations, the embassy can help U.S. Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who need to obtain a returning resident visa (SB-1).  COVID-19 travel restrictions will be considered as an event which prolonged your absence from the United States.  Usually the SB-1 is recommended when you stay more than one year outside the United States.

Q:  Where can I find more information about Immigrant and nonimmigrant visas?
A:  The State Department provides visa information at   Our Embassy website visa page is  You can reach our call center at 1-877-246-6788 (local) or 703-988-5765 (U.S.) from Monday to Friday – 7:00AM to 7:00PM.


“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.