By Amit Acco, Partner |

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Branch Office have announced the conclusion of their Authorized Departure status. Following a thorough assessment of the local conditions and security situation, the embassy personnel, along with their family members, have returned to normal staffing levels. This decision reflects the improved circumstances that led to the lifting of the Authorized Departure status, ensuring the resumption of regular operations at both diplomatic posts.

As a result, The US Embassy in Israel and the Tel Aviv Branch Office have resumed non-immigrant and immigrant visa services for Israelis after operating at a limited capacity due to the war starting on October 7, 2023.  As a result, applicants can now schedule interviews for various visa classifications, including H, L, E employee applications, O, and others.

The embassy is slowly processing E Company and employee applications for those whose interviews were canceled during the war. The State Department has extended the interview waiver program for eligible non-immigrant applicants renewing their visas, providing relief for Israelis stuck without visa processing. However, in-person interviews may still be required in certain cases.

What is embassy Authorized Departure status  in the US context?

Authorized Departure is a status granted by the U.S. Department of State to U.S. diplomatic personnel and their family members who are serving at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. This status is typically invoked in response to temporary and potentially dangerous situations, such as political unrest, security concerns, or natural disasters, which may pose a threat to the safety and well-being of the embassy personnel.

When Authorized Departure is in effect, embassy employees and their families are permitted to leave the host country and relocate to a designated safe location until the situation stabilizes. It is a precautionary measure to ensure the security of U.S. government personnel and their dependents in challenging or unstable environments.

The decision to implement Authorized Departure is made by the U.S. Department of State in consultation with the relevant embassy or consulate and is based on a careful assessment of the local conditions. Once the situation improves, embassy personnel are allowed to return to their posts, as indicated in your initial statement about the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv Branch Office returning to normal staffing after the conclusion of Authorized Departure status.