Mar 19, 2020 - Health

State Department suspends most global visa services

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

Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week

Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday he will be working with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to increase funding for the Payroll Protection Program, the federal backstop to help small businesses maintain operations and keep workers employed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: The $350 billion lending program — which opened for business last Friday — has had a highly problematic rollout, with banks and small businesses alike expressing frustration about system crashes and a lack of direction from the federal government. As the program proceeds, it's become clear that the initial funding wouldn't be nearly enough.

IEA boss won't let Big Oil off the hook

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Freya Ingrid Morales/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol has a tough job these days — responding to an unprecedented crisis now without losing sight of an existential one that must be tackled over decades.

Driving the news: He spoke to Axios yesterday about his work to help stabilize oil markets and ensure coronavirus doesn't sap governments' and companies' work on global warming.

The coronavirus outbreak will forever change the world economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Both the U.S. and global economies are set to be permanently altered by the coronavirus outbreak and the measures that have been taken in response to it, experts say.

The state of play: "Fundamentally there are going to be huge changes in household consumption patterns, business patterns and global supply chains," Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor and current economics lecturer at Stanford, said during a Reuters teleconference.