The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will suspend issuance of nonimmigrant visas for a period of eight days beginning Wednesday and reportedly will resume operations “on a greatly reduced scale” Sept. 1. U.S. consulates in Russia will stop issuing nonimmigrant visas for an indefinite period of time.

Key Points:

  • This announcement comes after President Vladimir Putin ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic mission by two-thirds and cut 755 members of its staff.
  • Currently scheduled interview appointments will be canceled and applicants will be notified by email and given instructions on rescheduling.
  • Only the U.S. Embassy in Moscow will resume nonimmigrant visa interviews starting Sept. 1., while visa operations at U.S. consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg will be suspended indefinitely, according to the State Department.
  • Though only nonimmigrant visa operations are being suspended, the reduction in staff will affect some immigrant visa applications. Affected applicants will be contacted if their interviews need to be rescheduled.

The embassy has released a fact sheet that provides additional information about the changes. In its announcement Monday, the U.S. mission to Russia stated that “Russia’s decision to reduce the United States’ diplomatic presence here calls into question Russia’s seriousness about pursuing better relations. We will keep the number of the diplomatic mission staff at the level necessary to fulfill the key functions of our diplomatic missions.

BAL Analysis: Visa applicants in Russia should expect significant delays in processing and should consult the U.S. Embassy website for specific information.