US court rules visa processing must continue despite travel ban

A federal judge in the US has ruled that the Department of State acted unlawfully in suspending visa processing services as a result of the US travel ban, and that processing services must continue despite current travel restrictions.

The ruling means that although the US regional travel ban remains in effect, the Department of State must process applications from travelers who are eligible to travel to the USA.

Following implementation of the travel bans by Presidents Trump and Biden, the DoS halted visa processing services, including for those who were exempt from the ban and eligible to travel.

DoS’ policy was challenged by a coalition of immigration law firms, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and a number of individuals who argued that the COVID-19 travel bans did not constitute a “visa ban.”

The legal challenge was successful, and the DoS is now required to resume visa processing across all operations, including within countries affected by the regional travel ban such as the UK. The judgment also applies beyond those named in the lawsuit, and affects all US visa processing for qualifying travelers.

The judgment comes ahead of the end of the US travel ban, which is scheduled to expire on November 8, 2021.

Need assistance?

If you are planning to travel to the US, speak to our US immigration specialists to discuss your visa options in light of any applicable travel restrictions or regulations.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.