COVID-19 Impact on Travel and Consular Operations

Last Updated: March 20, 2020

Because of the current worldwide responses to COVID-19, the Department of State recommends against any travel, as detailed in our Global Health Advisory. Many countries have taken or are taking action limiting traveler mobility, including mandatory quarantines and border restrictions, with little advance notice.  

On March 18, the Department announced the suspension of routine visa services worldwide. Embassies and consulates will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time. Intercountry adoption cases remain a high priority for the Department of State. Intercountry adoption cases where the adoptive parents are in country and the case is in the final stages of visa processing may still be processed to the degree that Embassy and Consulate resources and foreign government rules allow. Please be aware that circumstances can change frequently and with limited notice. Therefore, we strongly encourage prospective adoptive parents and their Adoption Service Providers to conduct careful research, including a review of the potential travel restrictions and quarantine requirements imposed by foreign governments as well as an embassy or consulate's ability to accept visa appointments, prior to any decision regarding travel at this time.

Please be assured that U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world are closely tracking travel restrictions and working with the Department in Washington D.C. to keep the public updated, including information about how intercountry adoption cases and travel may be affected.

We encourage all adoption professionals and prospective adoptive parents to:

  • Monitor the Department’s website,, for updates on the Global Travel Advisory and the COVID-19 Update (see the red and orange bars at the top of the page.)
  • Monitor the web page dedicated to COVID-19 Country Information
  • Review travel advisories for any country via this link. Type the country name into the search box on the left side of the screen to find a specific country information page. You should then see Alerts and Messages at the top of the country page.
  • Monitor U.S. Embassy and Consulate websites, particularly the information published under the sections for Visas (for information on whether consular operations have been impacted) and for U.S. Citizens Services (for information regarding assistance to U.S. citizens currently in-country.)

Please write to with information or questions about urgent situations, such as children who are approaching age limits under U.S. or foreign law, or children with exceptional medical needs.  

Information about changes in travel restrictions and consular operations are published on the Embassy websites as discussed above.  The Office of Children’s Issues encourages you to review the information via the sources listed above, as our guidance would be identical.

Regarding travel/entry to the United States, the March 11 and March 14, 2020 Presidential Proclamations do not apply to U.S. citizens or to others who fall under specific exceptions. 

Regarding intercountry adoption cases, please note the Proclamations, under Section 2 – Scope of Suspension and Limitation on Entry, include exceptions for “any alien who is the child, foster child, or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications; …”

Adopted children who are issued IR-2, IR-3, or IH-3 visas would generally be considered “the child … of a U.S. citizen” since issuance of such visas is dependent on a full and final adoption in the foreign court.

Please also review the FAQs on the Presidential Proclamation, available on the Department’s website.

Additional questions regarding who may be permitted to enter the United States at this time should be directed to the Department of Homeland Security