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You can no longer get an American visa in Russia: how to do it in another country

The US Embassy stops issuing all nonimmigrant visas to Russian citizens, except diplomatic ones. This is due to President Putin's ban on the "unfriendly country" from hiring Russians. Are there ways to get a visa? Tells Forbes.

Photo: Shutterstock

What happened

It is no longer possible to obtain a nonimmigrant American visa in Russia. Nonimmigrant visas include: tourist, student, business, visas for participants in exchange programs (the entire list can be viewed here). The US Embassy indicates that from May 12, it will continue to provide only emergency services to US citizens and issue a "very limited" number of immigrant visas, but only in emergencies.

From April 1, after the closure of the consulate in Yekaterinburg, it was possible to obtain a nonimmigrant visa only in Moscow. On April 23, Vladimir Putin signed a decree that limits, up to a ban, the hiring of individuals who are in Russia by the embassies of "unfriendly" countries. Putin instructed the government to draw up a list of such states. The number of permitted hiring of individuals for work is also determined by the government.

“It is impossible to force the embassy staff to issue such visas even in court,” says Dmitry Gorbunov, partner of Rustam Kurmaev & Partners. The only legal way is to apply for a visa in another country, he confirms.

On the subject: U.S. Embassy Moscow stops issuing visas and asks Americans to leave Russia

What to do

In theory, Russians can apply for an American visa in any other country where there is a US embassy and where non-residents can apply.

“So far, the easiest way is the states closest to us,” says Sergei Glandin, special adviser on sanctions law of the Pen & Paper bar association.

Due to closed borders, the choice of countries where you can get a visa is small: Kazakhstan and Georgia. The US embassies in Minsk, Bishkek and Yerevan are now not issuing nonimmigrant visas due to pandemic restrictions.

They are working to receive non-residents of the US Embassy in Thailand and Indonesia.

“You can fly there from Russia. Difficult, but possible, ”adds Anna Ionova, one of the founders of the USA Visa Info telegram channel.

The visa application must be accepted and considered in the standard mode on an equal basis with other non-resident applicants.

It should be borne in mind that if the applicant does not plan to stay in the country where he is applying until he is issued a visa, he will have to choose the country where he can enter with a Russian passport, that is, one of the CIS countries. Only those citizens who have a residence permit or other legal basis for crossing the border will be able to go to Europe for a visa. Anna Ionova does not see any sense in this.

“In Poland, for example, interviews are conducted, but the visa is not pasted into the passport because of the current proclamation prohibiting entry from the EU to the United States,” she explains.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York

Usually, the procedure for applying for a visa in another country looks like this.

  • Payment of the consular fee. It is paid in the country in which the applicant is applying. At the same time, free days for registering for submission of documents can be seen only after paying the consular fee.
  • Recording for an interview. The date of the interview will not be known until its appointment, but the consulate's website can usually see the approximate waiting times. Information regarding the nearest recording dates on the official website of the US Department of State applies exclusively to residents of the selected country. For non-residents, each embassy has a separate queue. Sometimes the waiting time can take several months. In the hot season, the term increases.

What documents are needed (this is an optional requirement, but they may be asked to submit for an interview):

  • Visa application, confirmation of registration at the consulate, passport, photo;
  • A certificate from work or study, a certificate from a bank about income, a hotel reservation in the United States or an invitation;
  • They can be useful, but are not included in the standard list of documents, certificates of real estate in Russia, marriage, children and any other documents that can prove "connection with the homeland."

When obtaining a visa in another country, it is worth remembering that in the future, a visa can be extended only in the same country where it was received.

Many US diplomatic missions in other countries have their own unique rules and procedures for applying for a US visa. Before applying for a visa, it is important to familiarize yourself with the conditions for applying for a nonimmigrant visa on the official website of the embassy in the country of application.

As ForumDaily wrote earlier:

  • In April, US President Joe Biden introduced new sanctions against Russia, stating that it is a response to cyberattacks and attempts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election.
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry recommended that US Ambassador John Sullivan leave for Washington "for consultations." Sullivan initially refused to leave Russia, but on April 22 it became known that he flew to the USA.
  • Czech Republic expelled 18 Russian diplomats due to suspicions of the involvement of Russian special services in the explosion at an ammunition depot in 2014. Russia responded by expelling 20 Czech diplomats from the country and declared personami non grata 10 U.S. Embassy staff. Washington stressed that the United States is striving for a constructive dialogue with Russia.
  • 23 April Putin signed a decree, according to which the embassies of states "committing unfriendly actions" against Russia will be limited in the right to hire Russian citizens.
  • U.S. Embassy Moscow from May 12 stop processing applications to obtain nonimmigrant visas. This is due to the fact that Russia banned the hiring of Russians to work in the department.

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