U.S. Visa and Travel FAQs for non-U.S. citizens during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Consular Ouagadougou COVID-19 Updates

 

LAST UPDATED: July 23, 2021

We understand your concern about visas and travel in light of the continuing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We hope that this information will help answer your questions.

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. Therefore, please carefully review these FAQs to find the information you require. Any updates on travel restrictions and visa operations will be posted on this page, so please bookmark this page and check back regularly.

We are in the process of working on cases that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will contact applicants if we require further information. We ask that you continue to monitor our website for updates until normal visa services have resumed.

Please make sure that you read the General Information in full, and then navigate to the Nonimmigrant Visa, Immigrant Visa or Fiancé(e) visa specific information section as appropriate to find more information that is relevant to your circumstances.

General Information

Is the U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso conducting visa interview appointments?

The Department of State suspended routine visa services worldwide in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As global conditions evolve, U.S. Embassies and Consulates are beginning a phased resumption of routine visa services. The resumption of routine visa services will occur on a post-by-post basis, in coordination with the Department’s Diplomacy Strong framework for safely returning our workforce to Department facilities. U.S. Embassies and Consulates have continued to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services since March and will continue to do so as they are able. 

The United States Embassy in Burkina Faso has resumed certain routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services, including: K1 fiancé, certain immigrant visa classes, and I-131A Lawful Permanent Resident Boarding Foils for lost/stolen/mutilated cards. Interviews for all other visa categories, including B1/B2, remain suspended. The U.S. Embassy in Burkina Faso will continue to provide emergency and mission-critical visa services for urgent humanitarian, medical, and official travel. Please continue to check this webpage and your email account for the latest updates.

Please note that, despite our present status, we strive to find availability to conduct a limited number of student visa interviews within our prescribed framework of precautionary measures.  We invite interested students to write to us at ouagaNIV@state.gov with their specific inquiries. 

While the Embassy aims to schedule visa interviews as quickly as practicable, capacity is limited, and applicants should expect significant wait times for visa interview appointments.  The MRV fee may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. The U.S. Embassy will extend the validity of your MRV payment until September 30, 2022. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please email ouagaNIV@state.gov to request an emergency appointment.

U.S. visa holders should be aware of potential restrictions for travelers who transit the Schengen area (including France) within 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States. These restrictions do not apply when travelling through other common transit points outside of the Schengen area. These restrictions also do not apply to U.S. citizens or green card holders, or diplomatic or official travelers.  Please refer to the Department of Homeland Security for all of the latest travel restrictions that may affect you. You can also find more information about COVID-19 in Burkina Faso on the Embassy’s COVID-19 Information page. 

Am I affected by a Presidential Proclamation?

For more information about Presidential Proclamations currently in place, please follow updates on the U.S. Visas News webpage. 

Please bear in mind that transiting a country covered by the Presidential Proclamation, even without exiting the airport, counts as physical presence within that country. 

Please note that the U.S. Embassy cannot provide an official letter stating that you are excepted from a travel restriction.

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.

I’m in the United States and I’m 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.

I have been offered an appointment at the Embassy. What do I need to know about attending the appointment?

Due to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), everyone should wear a face mask. You can choose to buy a mask or make your own. Visit the CDC website for information about how to make a face covering (sew and no-sew tutorials are available).

You must not bring laptops or bags to your appointment as they are not permitted into the building and there are no storage facilities available. To save time, we recommend that you keep the number of small bags and belongings that you bring with you to an absolute minimum.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus, you must reschedule your appointment by contacting ouagaNIV@state.gov. 

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, please note that fees are valid until September 30, 2022.

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

If you have any questions about a visa application that was submitted before implementation of the travel restrictions and the answer is not yet provided in these FAQs or elsewhere on our website, please continue to monitor our website for the latest updates.  After normal operations resume, you can contact us to request case-specific information.  

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

Please click on the appropriate link below for more information on your specific visa category:

Specific Information for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants and Nonimmigrant Visa Holders

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

A nonimmigrant visa fee is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased. 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 MRV fee and complete a new Form DS-160.

I have a valid student visa (F-1 or M-1). Can I travel to the United States?

If you hold a valid F-1 or M-1 visa and are not affected by any Presidential Proclamations, you can travel to a United States Port of Entry to apply for admission. Admission to the United States is a matter for CBP officials at the U.S. Port of Entry and all travelers are subject to questioning. 

If you have a valid visa and you will be traveling to undertake OPT, you should carry your annotated Form I-20 and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) in addition to your visa.

Please review the CDC website if you have questions about quarantine regulations.

We strongly recommend that all current and prospective F-1 and M-1 students and study abroad advisers review the comprehensive Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) FAQ. This includes important new information about full course of study requirements and online learning, Form I-20, employment, and the SEVIS fee.

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. 

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. Please contact USCIS for information about how to apply to extend your stay. 

My child is an American citizen. Can I apply for a nonimmigrant visa to accompany my child to the United States?

The Embassy may be able to grant an emergency appointment for one parent or guardian to accompany an American citizen minor on a flight to the United States. Please contact ouagaNIV@state.gov to request a special appointment for this reason.

Specific Information for Immigrant Visa Applicants, Immigrant Visa Holders and LPRs

Is the Embassy open for immigrant visa appointments?

As of November 25, 2020, the Consular section is open for immigrant visa appointments on a limited basis. If you are applying for an IR, CR, K, or IH3 visas, we will contact you once your case arrives at the Embassy to provide further information and to schedule an appointment. 

If you are applying for an immigrant visa in any category other than the categories mentioned above, and you have been advised that your case file has been forwarded to the Embassy, you may refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents. After normal operations have resumed, you may book a medical appointment and proceed with the application process. Please monitor our website for updates. Applicants are typically given 12 months in which to apply for the visa, starting from the date on which the Embassy’s Immigrant Visa Unit writes to them with instructions about the status of their case.

If you are applying for an immigrant visa and the case is being processed by 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 any questions about NVC cases, including any questions about expedite options or about appointments.

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 IR, CR, or E-3 visa that has now expired and you wish to move to the United States urgently, please contact ouagaIV@state.gov. Please provide the full names of the visa applicant(s) and the petitioner, plus the case number (typically OUG followed by ten digits).

If you were issued with a different category of immigrant visa, please monitor our website for the latest updates. After normal visa operations have resumed and your unused visa has expired, please contact us 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 may be required to undergo a new medical examination and pay a new visa fee before the visa can be reissued.

I’m a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and I’m currently outside the United States. What should I do?

If you are not in possession of your Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) and wish to travel to the United States, you may apply for a Transportation Boarding foil in order to facilitate boarding by the airline to transport you back to the U.S. Please contact ouagaIV@state.gov if you need to apply for a Transportation Boarding Foil.

If a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) remains outside the U.S. for more than 12 months (or beyond the validity period of a Reentry Permit obtained prior to departing the United States), they lose their entitlement to LPR status. Information about travel and maintaining permanent resident status is provided through the USCIS website.

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

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

U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou has resumed routine K visa services on a limited basis. Please contact ouagaIV@state.gov for information on how to proceed with you application. 

If your application is being processed by the Embassy, 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, you may refer to our website for an overview of the application procedure and begin compiling the necessary supporting documents. You may book a medical appointment and proceed with the application process after normal operations have resumed. Please check this website regularly for updates about visa services and travel.

If the fiancé(e) visa petition expires, you may revalidate the petition with 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 in the future, not mail it or email it to the Embassy.

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. If your unused visa has expired, please contact ouagaIV@state.gov 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 may be required to undergo a new medical examination and pay a new visa fee before the visa can be reissued.

Any other questions

If you have any further questions about visas, please see our website for detailed information. Please note that we will be unable to respond if your question is addressed on our website.

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