IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? The United States and Turkey have announced that they will resume normal visa issuance in each other’s countries.

What does the change mean? According to statements posted by both countries’ embassies, normal visa issuance will resume at U.S. and Turkish diplomatic posts, lifting all restrictions. The U.S. and Turkey temporarily stopped issuing visas in each other’s countries in October, before resuming issuance on a limited basis in November.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Nonimmigrant visas issued by U.S. and Turkish consulates.
  • Who is affected: Anyone applying for U.S. or Turkish visas in the U.S. or Turkey.
  • Impact on processing times: Visa applicants may experience delays as it is likely that officials will have to work through a backlog of applications.
  • Business impact: Applicants will be able to apply for business visas as they could before the October visa suspension.

Background: The U.S. and Turkey halted nonimmigrant visa issuance in each other’s countries in October following the arrest of a U.S. consulate worker in Turkey. Visa processing resumed on a limited basis in November. Both embassies posted statements Thursday saying that normal visa issuance will resume. The U.S. Mission to Turkey, which had expressed concern over the safety of its diplomats in Turkey, said that, based on assurances from the Turkish government, the U.S. State Department is “confident that the security posture has improved sufficiently to allow for the full resumption of visa services in Turkey.” The Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., said that, “in accordance with the principle of reciprocity, restrictions on visa services applied to American citizens have been lifted simultaneously.”

BAL Analysis: While the resumption of normal visa issuance in the U.S. and Turkey is welcome news, the diplomatic situation between the two countries remains fluid.