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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department on March 17. Photo: Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images

The State Department is suspending "routine visa services in most countries worldwide" for immigrants and nonimmigrants in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the agency said Wednesday.

What's happening: Visa appointments — a crucial step for U.S. immigrants — will be canceled in all countries with a travel advisory level of 2, 3 or 4 as of Wednesday, a State Department spokesperson told Axios.

  • Affected countries include the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Israel, South Korea, Italy, Japan, France, Ukraine, Russia, India, Denmark, Turkey and Brazil.
  • The visa waiver program, which allows citizens to visit the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without a visa, will not be affected, the agency said on its website Wednesday.

What they're saying: "As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services. These Embassies will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time," the State Department said on its website.

Go deeper: ICE pauses most immigration enforcement amid coronavirus outbreak

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.