COVID-19 Pandemic Impacting Medical Visas

 In Clinical Trials, Covid-19, Global Trials

Participants in clinical trials have many things to consider when participating in a trial, especially when they are travelling internationally to the U.S. and are not from a country that has a Visa Waiver Program in place. To add to the challenges of travel and study participation, they are now faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions across the globe.

Obtaining a medical visa is a complex and involved process and has become even more complicated due to immigration issues within the U.S., the U.S. embassy and consulate closures and the ever changing travel restrictions due to COVID-19 within patients’ home countries. Colpitts has a wonderful partner that specializes in global immigration services. They have 70 offices in 190 countries and offer local language support and time zone support, passport services, as well as assistance in procuring a medical or employment visa.

Staffed with a team of immigration and visa professionals, attorneys and immigration consultants, the assigned team will work with the participants from start to finish. The medical visa process truly takes a village. It requires input on trial-related treatment from the Sponsor or CRO in order to draft medical support letters per applicant, as well as the willingness and ability of the applicants to complete the visa questionnaire and provide proof of home ties if requested in a timely manner and valid passports. Once the documents have been submitted they are reviewed by an immigration lawyer and the visa applications can be filed.  For travel to the U.S. an in-person interview at the local U.S. consulate is mandatory and is scheduled by our vendor partner. They will prepare the applicants on interview expectations as well as advise them on what documents are needed.  After the interview the visa is processed and available for the applicant.

Prior to COVID-19 the timeline for visas was roughly 6-8 weeks, but presently there is a travel ban in effect for foreign nationals travelling to the U.S. and the U.S. consulates and embassies remain closed with few travel exceptions being considered.

– By Laurie Rent

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