IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? The U.S. and Turkish embassies in each other’s countries have said they will resume nonimmigrant visa issuance on a limited basis.
What does the change mean? Visa services in Turkey and the U.S. will be partially restored after they were halted in October. The U.S. Mission in Turkey posted a notice online saying that it had “resumed processing non-immigrant visas on a limited basis” and that the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and Consulate General in Istanbul would offer interviews by appointment only, and that they are reducing the number of scheduled interview appointments. The Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC posted a similar statement, saying that Turkey “will resume processing visa applications of U.S. citizens at its diplomatic and consular missions in the USA on a ‘limited basis.’”
- Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
- Visas/permits affected: Nonimmigrant visas.
- Who is affected: Anyone applying for nonimmigrant U.S. visas in Turkey or nonimmigrant Turkish visas in the U.S.
- Impact on processing times: Although visa processing has resumed, delays should be expected given that both countries have said only a limited number of visa applications will be processed. It is also likely that embassies and consulates will have backlogs after regular visa issuance was suspended for nearly a month.
Background: The U.S. and Turkey halted nonimmigrant visa issuance in each other’s countries last month following the arrest of a U.S. consulate worker in Turkey. The Turkish government accused the worker of having ties to Fethullah Gulen, a cleric whom Turkey holds responsible for a failed coup attempt last year. Both the U.S. and Turkey issued statements at the time saying they needed to reassess the other country’s dedication to the security of their diplomatic personnel. The two countries have now said they will resume visa processing, but will only provide a limited number of appointments for now.
BAL Analysis: While the resumption of visa issuance is a welcome development, delays should be expected because of the limited number of appointments. The U.S. Mission in Turkey urged applicants not to make travel arrangements before they physically receive their visas.