The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia announced that “[a]s a result of the Russian government’s personnel cap imposed on the U.S. Mission, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia will be suspended beginning August 23, 2017.”
This is the most recent volley in the diplomatic back-and-forth that started with the reports of possible Russian involvement in U.S. elections. Following U.S.-imposed sanctions, Russia ordered the withdrawal of 755 U.S. diplomatic personnel from Russia.
Generally, the announcement means:
- The U.S. Mission has begun cancelling current nonimmigrant visa appointments countrywide.
- As of September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
- NIV applicants whose appointments are cancelled can reschedule for a later date in Moscow.
- Some immigrant visa interviews also will be affected.
- The Embassy in Moscow and the Consulate in St. Petersburg will no longer accept new visa applications from residents of Belarus, who are encouraged to schedule NIV appointments in Warsaw, Kyiv (Kiev), or Vilnius.
- The current plan is to offer a block of visa appointments for students in early September.
- The Embassy in Moscow will continue to process NIV applications without an interview for those who qualify.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the three consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok will continue to provide emergency and routine services to American citizens, although hours may change.