The pandemic continues to severely impact the number of visas our embassies and consulates abroad are able to process. We are making significant efforts with constrained resources to safely return to pre-pandemic workload levels. However, capacity is extremely limited for all non-immigrant visa interview appointments, including students, through at least the end of the summer. We recognize the important contributions international students make to U.S. college and university campuses, the positive impact they have on U.S. communities, and the rich benefits of academic cooperation in increasing cultural understanding and furthering research and knowledge. As limited availability for visa interview appointments may delay the adjudication and issuance of visas beyond the start of this academic year, we continue to encourage both students and U.S. higher education institutions to maintain maximum flexibility in navigating the coming academic year, which may include accepting offers of admission and negotiating academic program start dates to accommodate variability in student arrivals on campus.
Due to conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki was forced to drastically reduce the number of consular appointments, including all categories of American Citizens Services and visa services requiring in-person interviews at the Embassy. In line with the U.S. Department of State’s prioritization of services, we are prioritizing services to U.S. citizens in Finland. With respect to visa services, we are prioritizing the processing of immigrant and fiancée visas, particularly for immediate relatives and other family-sponsored applicants. The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki is working to resume routine visa services as expeditiously as possible in a safe manner. However, our visa processing remains impacted by a significant backlog and continued social distancing and other requirements to protect the safety of both staff and applicants. We understand that this is a very difficult time for students who plan to study abroad. We will publish any new information on our website.