Mar 17, 2020
US Consulates react to impact of COVID-19, H2-A processing

The following information was posted March 16 regarding the operation of U.S. consulates in regard to Mexico.

“The health and safety of those who work at and visit our embassy and consulate facilities is our highest priority.  In response to the global pandemic COVID-19, and in line with the Mexican government’s call to increase social distancing, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will suspend routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services starting March 18, 2020, and until further notice.  The U.S. Embassy and consulates will continue to provide essential consular services to U.S. citizens as well as emergency visa services.  See below for more details.

American Citizens Services:  Routine passport (including consular reports of birth abroad) and notarial services will be limited starting March 18.  Individuals with appointments after March 18 may be asked to reschedule their appointments for a later date.  Check here https://mx.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passport-services/ for appointment availability at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or at any of our nine consulates or nine consular agencies throughout Mexico.  U.S. citizens in need of 24/7 emergency assistance should call 81-4160-5512 (from Mexico) or +1 (844) 528-6611 (from the United States).  Click here https://mx.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/ to learn about the latest COVID-19 developments in Mexico along with precautions to take to protect your health and safety.

Visa Services:  Routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services will be suspended starting March 18, 2020, and until further notice.  This includes both visa interviews at the embassy and consulates as well as processing at the Centros de Atención a Solicitantes (CAS).  Applicants with appointments will receive cancellation notices by e-mail.  We will continue to accept nonimmigrant visa applications on a very limited basis for emergency travel only.  Applicants may request an emergency nonimmigrant visa appointment via https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-MX/niv.

For case-specific inquiries for nonimmigrant visas, please contact us here:  https://mx.usembassy.gov/es/visas-es/contactenos-form/.  For immigrant visa inquiries, please visit our website: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/es-mx/iv/information/contact_us.

We regret any inconvenience caused by the suspension of routine visa and other services and appreciate your support for our efforts to safeguard U.S. facilities and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in Mexico.  Please monitor our website for future updates: https://mx.usembassy.gov.

Information from USDA is available here.

H-2A cases ‘continue to be processed’

According to the Federation of Employees & Workers of America,  U.S. Consulate in Monterrey sent out the following message early this morning with guidelines about upcoming visa appointments.

Notice to H-2 Petitioners:  In response to the global pandemic, COVID-19, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and all U.S. consulates in Mexico will cancel routine immigrant and non-immigrant visa services starting March 18, 2020.  This includes both visa interviews at the consulate as well as processing at the Centros de Atención a Solicitantes (CAS).

We intend to continue processing H2 cases but will need to modify our procedures in order to facilitate the social distancing recommended by health authorities.  The U.S. Consulate General Monterrey will prioritize the processing of returning H-2 workers who are eligible for an interview waiver.  Because limited interview appointments will be available, we may cancel some first-time applicant appointments that have already been scheduled.  If circumstances change, we will contact you with additional information.

As a reminder, “returning H-2 workers (IW)” are applicants whose H-2A or H-2B visas have expired in the last twelve months and are now applying for the same visa classification and did not require a waiver the last time they applied for a visa.  Please do not make IW appointments for first-time applicants or applicants who require an interview every year due to law enforcement or immigration violations. First-time applications will not be processed if they are submitted as returning applicants.

United Fresh Produce Association statement

“For years, the produce industry and our agriculture sector partners have made an overwhelming case for legislation to reform our broken immigration system and help build a legal and reliable workforce. Our industry must have:

  • Legal status for the current workforce
  • Reforms to the current federal agriculture guestworker program known as H-2A
  • Future access to a skilled, dedicated workforce
  • NO heightened enforcement legislation that does not contain a solution for agriculture’s problems in attracting and maintaining a workforce.

The produce industry does not oppose proper enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, but to do so without addressing the reality that much of workforce in agriculture is foreign-born would be devastating to our sector.

On Oct. 30, 2019, Chairwoman Lofgren (D-CA) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA), introduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act – click here to learn more about this specific legislation. We stand ready to work with policymakers to craft policies that keep our nation safe and help our economy thrive.


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