Due to the coronavirus outbreak throughout China, a number of heavily infected Chinese cities, including Wuhan, are under quarantine, whereas many other parts of China have imposed certain types of travel restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. On Jan. 28, 2020, the U.S. Consulate General of Hong Kong & Macau announced that it would operate at reduced staffing levels through Jan. 31, 2020, and all nonimmigrant and immigrant visa appointments scheduled for Jan. 29 have been cancelled.
On the same day, the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in mainland China announced that all U.S. Embassy and Consulates in the country will be closed on Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, 2020, due to the extension of the Lunar New Year Holiday to Feb. 2. As such, we expect those who are scheduled for visa appointments on these days will be notified of the cancellation of their appointments. We will monitor the developments and provide further updates regarding potential consulate closures and/or visa appointment cancellations when available.
Further, given the circumstances, many applicants for immigrant or nonimmigrant visas may not be able to attend their scheduled interviews, even if they are not cancelled, due to either travel restrictions or fear of being infected by the virus by visiting public places. For those clients who have scheduled immigrant visa or nonimmigrant visa interviews coming up, but are unable to attend because of the virus, please reach out to your attorney to reschedule the interviews.
Additionally, please note that pursuant to the February 2020 Visa Bulletin posted by the Department of State, in the EB-5 category, the final action date (Chart A) cut-off priority date for China mainland advanced to Dec. 1, 2014. While the visa bulletin has advanced recently, there is a risk that the final action dates may stop advancing or even retrogress in the coming months, given the volume of cases handled at USCIS, NVC, and U.S. consulates. The virus outbreak is likely to continue to cause delays in processing the visa applications and interview scheduling. The interview cancellations and rescheduling for existing investors and their dependents may contribute to a backlog in interview scheduling. If retrogression occurs, there is a risk that the priority dates of those with scheduled interviews may no longer be current at the time of their desired rescheduled date, and as such those applicants would need to wait for their priority dates to become current again before new interviews could be scheduled.
We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates as they become available.