Mumbai: In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, US Missions in India have cancelled all immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments from Monday, March 16 onwards, according to an announcement on Saturday.
"Your visa appointment stands as cancelled. Once Mission India resumes regular consular operations, appointments will be made available and you will be able to reschedule," said a terse notification on Saturday.
From Monday, Mission India's American Centers in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai will "pause in-person programming and close public access until further notice".
The Mission India said it looked forward to welcoming people back to all its establishments as soon as conditions permit and till then asked all to "please stay safe and healthy".
Indian Consulate in New York has launched a COVID-19 travel helpline
The Indian Consulate in New York has launched a COVID-19 travel helpline, in view of the New Delhi governments guidelines about travel to the country and suspension of all visas till April 15.
The helpline was launched to help people facing issues such as expiring American visas, denials of H-1B visas and Indian citizens with minor children who are US citizens having to travel back due to compelling reasons, The American Bazaar said in a report on Friday.
"In view of travel advisory issued by government of India regarding travel to India due to global COVID-19 pandemic, following phone numbers may be used to reach Consulate General of India, New York for any assistance/clarification," the Consulate said in a message posted on its website.
While any voluntary travels were being cancelled or postponed by people to stay safe, many others were worried about unavoidable situations, the report said.
Those who may be facing any immigration related issues or are challenged with a need to travel during these extraordinary times are advised to reach out to their respective embassies, it added.
On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency "to unleash the full power of the federal government" against the outbreak in the country and that up to $50 billion will be available to states and territories to meet the challenge.
The declaration came as the number of coronavirus cases in the US hit 1,800 with 41 deaths.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.