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Key Points

  • A federal judge has ordered the Department of State to continue processing visas while COVID-19 travel bans are in effect
  • The Department of State must process visas for all eligible travelers
  • The court ruled that the Department of State unlawfully used the travel bans as a reason to stop processing visas
  • This lawsuit expands visa processing to individuals beyond those named in the lawsuit


A federal judge has ruled that the Department of State must continue processing visas for eligible travelers even while travel bans are in effect.

What are the Changes?

In Kinsley v. Blinken, a federal judge granted Summary Judgment holding that the Department of State may not use travel bans as a reason to stop processing visas for otherwise eligible individuals. The Department of State stopped processing visas even for eligible travelers when COVID-19 travel bans were put in place by Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden. However, that practice must change based on the outcome of the lawsuit filed by a coalition of immigration law firms, with support from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and individuals who argued that the COVID-19 travel bans do not equate to a “visa ban.”

Looking Ahead

The resumption of visa processing, even in countries impacted by the travel ban, coupled with the White House’s announcement that the travel ban will be lifted for vaccinated travelers in November, may soon mean the resumption of carefully monitored international travel. Your CIP team will keep you closely updated regarding travel-related announcements, and we ask you to please check in with your legal team before making any international travel plans.

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