The US State Department has issued a travel warning for Haiti. The full text of the warning is reprinted below:
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The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Haiti to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the current electoral period. The Haitian government has rescheduled the final round of elections, which were originally scheduled for December 27, 2015. The new date is January 24, 2016. This Travel Alert supersedes the Alert dated August 7, 2015, and reflects the announcement of the final round of elections. This Travel Alert expires on April 7, 2016.
Tensions remain high and we strongly urge U.S. citizens to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation as the electoral process progresses to a resolution. Particular possible flashpoints would be the period leading up to and immediately following the date of the election, the date results are announced, and the inauguration of a new President – constitutionally set for February 7, 2016.
There may be restrictions on traffic circulation, either imposed by the authorities or caused by ad hoc political rallies. The Embassy Security Office has advised Embassy employees not involved in election monitoring to avoid unnecessary movement outside of their residences on the day of elections. Because of this, and as a general matter of emergency preparedness, you should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow you to shelter in place for at least 72 hours.
Monitor local media for any changes in the election schedule. The U.S. Embassy may update this Travel Alert as the schedule or circumstances change. For more information about security conditions in Haiti, please see the Country Specific Information page for Haiti or the Haiti Travel Warning.
The U.S. Embassy is located in Port-au-Prince at Boulevard du 15 Octobre, Tabarre 41, Tabarre, Haiti, telephone: (509) 2229-8000, facsimile: (509) 2229-8027, email: firstname.lastname@example.org American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit office hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Consular Section is closed on U.S. and local holidays. After hours, on weekends and on holidays, please call (509) 2229-8000 and an automated attendant will connect you with the Embassy duty officer. U.S. citizens can also stay informed about conditions in Haiti by following the Embassy and ACS on Twitter and Facebook.
The US Department of State (DOS) has announced that all consulates are now back online and scheduling visa interviews. The consulates worked though last weekend and have almost cleared the backlog of applications, issuing 410,000 nonimmigrant visa applications in the past 9 days.
The Department states that it is still having problems with some online visa application, and I noticed that their website still has this notice on the J-1 waiver page:
For more details on the current status from DOS, and FAQs, see http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/news/technological-systems-issue.html
Elaine Martin has been practising US and global immigration law since 1997. She is an immigrant herself (from Ireland), so has a special understanding of the legal and emotional challenges involved in relocating to a new country.