The US Embassy in Riyadh and the consulates in Dhahran and Jeddah are resuming limited visa appointments for Saudi students, including those participating in a residency or clinical program that provides services and care to patients in the US.
The embassy stated that, because of COVID-19 and social distancing, the appointment dates and severely limited and priority will go to those previously issued with US student visas and those whose study programs were starting imminently.
Reasons such as attending a wedding, traveling for fun, assisting pregnant relatives, and participating in an annual event do not qualify for expedited appointments.
People with a valid Certificate of Eligibility (I-20) issued by their universities may qualify for a student visa. Applicants can submit an expedited appointment request if their planned travel date is within the next three weeks, the embassy said. This option is strictly limited for students who are within 21 days of their start date.
An emergency appointment can only be registered after an applicant has scheduled a regular appointment and will only be approved if there is a need to travel for emergency medical care, the death of a direct relative, an urgent business matter, and if the purpose of traveling is to resume or begin studying in the US. Each of these qualifications require official documentation and proof of urgency. An applicant’s case file will be adversely affected if it emerges that the reasons for travel were misrepresented.
The US State Department suspended routine visa services worldwide in March due to the pandemic, and the embassy in Riyadh and consulates in Dhahran and Jeddah canceled associated visa appointments.
In June the department authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency US diplomatic personnel and all mission family members due to COVID-19. Visa units are operating with reduced staff.