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Instruction: how and where to get a US visa

To apply for a visa in the United States today is difficult, but possible. Experts shared with tips for those who make the first American visa, and those who need to extend it.

Фото: Depositphotos

According to the online travel agency Biletix, the volume of round-trip air ticket sales from Russia to the USA in the first 7 months of 2018 decreased by 24% compared to the same period last year. In this segment of 2018, the USA accounted for only 1,4% of all air ticket sales in foreign destinations. According to experts from Biletix, this decline is largely due to the reorientation of tourists to more accessible near destinations.

We can not exclude the influence of problems with the registration of a visa, which the Russians have encountered. Recall that about a year ago, the deterioration of relations between the countries led to a reduction in the number of employees of American consulates in Russia, and since April 2018, the consulate in St. Petersburg has been closed, and the situation with visas has worsened. As a result, over the past year, the process of obtaining a visa has become a difficult quest. In addition, the refusal rate for Russians in a visa has increased: if in 2016, it was 9,3%, then in 2017 дOstig already 11,6%, follows from the data that publishes the US State Department.

What to do?

If you need to extend a visa, and the previous one ended no more than 11 months ago, you can do it, as before, in Russia. The principle remains the same, but preliminary recording is required.

“From time to time, an entry for the submission of documents for a repeated visa is opened,” says visa expert Elena Doroschenko. - The process now takes more time than before. First you need to pre-record: you need to wait for the calendar to open and select the date of submission of documents. The record goes on 2 – 4 weeks ahead, that is, you can now count on October. It takes about a week from the moment of submission of documents to obtaining a visa. ”

Those who apply for a visa for the first time, or those who have had more than 11 months since the previous one expired, should choose another country for this. There are no free “windows” for recording for an interview in Moscow. “It is worth going to one of the countries of the former CIS, for example to Armenia or Georgia,” Maya Travel, head of individual tourism company Mayel Travel, recommends.

In general, Russian citizens can get a visa in the United States in any country. When filling out the DS-160 form, it is sufficient to indicate the country in which you are planning to submit documents. However, according to Maya Kotlyar, it is Armenia that is optimal for Russians. “The advantages are that you can enter there with a Russian passport and leave for it without having to wait to receive your passport with a visa,” she says. In addition, a trip to Armenia costs the budget: an inexpensive flight, fairly affordable hotels, as a bonus - a good attitude towards the Russians.

If you plan to combine vacation in Armenia with obtaining a US visa, Kotlyar advises laying a minimum of 2 weeks on it. If you cannot come for a long time, you will have to either go for documents a second time, or ask someone to bring them to you by proxy.

On the internal passport you can also enter Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. However, the head of the Moscow Visa Center MosVisa Victoria Konkina recommends that its tourists apply for a visa through Latvia.

“In the case of Latvia, the consular fee is paid online, immediately after which the appointment calendar opens,” explains the expert. - If you take, for example, visa-free countries, Georgia or Armenia, it is quite difficult to pay the consular fee there: payment goes through a local bank. This option is convenient if you have local friends who can help with this. ”

According to Victoria Konkina, Latvia is the best option in terms of length of stay in the country: a passport with a visa is issued the very next day after the interview. However, it will take a long time to wait for the interview itself - now it is recording for January-February.

To know the dates more accurately, you must first pay the consular fee. In addition, for non-residents, the interview calendar is separate. “In European countries, those who are not citizens of the European Union have to wait for an interview for quite some time,” explains the expert.

In general, countries are divided into two categories: those in which the interview can be held in Russian, and those in which the interview can be held only in English or the national language of the country. “If we are talking about interviewing in Russian, the range of countries is quite limited: these are the Baltic countries, Poland and the countries of the former Soviet space (Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, etc.), says Elena Doroschenko. “You can also have an interview in Russian in Israel.” All other countries can offer an interview in English only.

According to Doroschenko, the client usually makes a choice based on waiting time or based on his knowledge of the language. The least thing to do now is to be in the case of Israel, Warsaw and Yerevan (you can sign up for October) and Krakow (November). In the case of Riga, the record is already in February 2019. “The most popular trend today is Poland,” says an expert. “There are closer dates and a higher percentage of visas issued there.”

Elena Doroschenko also clarifies that today a good percentage of visas in the Baltic countries, not bad - in English-speaking countries, Italy and Greece. The situation is worse, according to her, in the CIS countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia). They may refuse a visa or request additional documents even from wealthy clients.

important points

It is always advisable to wait for a visa in the country of receipt. “The official transfer of a foreign passport across the border is illegal,” says Elena Doroschenko. However, if you choose a country to which you can enter with a Russian passport, or if you have two international passports, you can arrange delivery through a trustee.

In case of a visa delay, there is always the likelihood of a return visit to the country, and these are additional costs for tickets and a hotel.

You can sign up for an interview after paying the consular fee. If you contact the consulate in some countries, you can pay it only in the country where the application is submitted. Here can help friends or relatives who live there.

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