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Nonimmigrant Visa Operations (NIV) in Russia Suspended

US Embassy Moscow visas US Embassy Moscow visas

US Embassy Moscow visasThe US will suspend nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations in Russia beginning August 23, 2017, due to the personnel cap Russia imposed on US operations. Visa operations will resume on a greatly reduced scale. Beginning September 1, 2017, the US will conduct nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interviews only at the US Embassy Moscow. The US has suspended NIV interviews at US Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok until further notice.

As of 0900 Moscow time on Monday, August 21, 2017, the US Mission will begin canceling current nonimmigrant visa (NIV) appointments countrywide in Russia. NIV applicants with canceled visa interviews should call the number below to reschedule an interview at the US Embassy Moscow. NIV applicants originally scheduled for an interview at US consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok should call the number below to reschedule interviews at the US Embassy in Moscow.

US consular staffing changes will also affect scheduling for some immigrant visa (IV) applicants. The State Department will contact any IV applicants with a change in interview time and/or date.

To reschedule nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interviews and for other questions, contact: +7 (495) 745 3388 or 8 800 100 2554 (ITFN).

US Embassy Moscow and Other US Posts in Russia: American Citizen Services

The US Embassy Moscow and the three US consulates in Russia will continue to provide emergency and routine services to US citizens, although hours may change. (For American Citizen Services hours, please check the US Mission Russia website.)

US Visa Applications in Russia for Citizens of Belarus

Due to the staff reductions in Russia, the US Embassy Moscow and the US Consulate in St. Petersburg will no longer accept new visa applications for residents of Belarus. The Department of State (DoS) will reschedule NIV appointments for Belarussian applicants who have already paid the visa application fee. DoS encourages residents of Belarus to schedule NIV appointments at the US Embassy Warsaw, the US Embassy Kyiv; or the US Embassy Vilnius.

State Department Q & A on Cancellation of US Nonimmigrant Visa Appointments in Russia

Q: Will the US Department of State (DoS) cancel my nonimmigrant visa appointment? How will they inform me of such cancellation?
A: Beginning at 0900 Moscow time Monday, August 21, DoS will begin canceling all current nonimmigrant visa appointments countrywide. DoS will email affected applicants with a phone number to reschedule interviews at the US Embassy Moscow for a later date. Future interview capacity will be far smaller because DoS has greatly reduced staffing levels to comply with the Russian government’s requirement.
Q: Will DoS still offer visa appointments at US consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, and Yekaterinburg?
A: Due to the required drawdown of US personnel in Russia, DoS will conduct all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interviews countrywide at the US Embassy Moscow.
Q: How will DoS prioritize visa appointment requests?
A: The DoS must give first priority to the travel of officials of the United Nations, international organizations with offices in the US, and bilateral missions. International agreements, diplomatic practice, or customary international law generally require such prioritization. DoS will also give priority to other categories of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applications, such as travel for medical or family emergencies, depending on our staffing level. This may include funerals, hospitalizations, or legal proceedings. DoS will process other categories as staffing permits.
Q: I am a university student studying in the US. I need to get to my university now. Will an appointment be available for me?
A: DoS is planning to offer a block of visa appointments to students in early September 2017.
Q: What if I qualify for a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) without an interview?
A: The US Embassy Moscow will continue to process nonimmigrant visas (NIV) without an interview for those who qualify.
Q: How long will the suspension last?
A: US posts in Russia will operate at reduced capacity as long as staffing levels remain reduced.
Q: I already paid my visa fee! Can I get my money back?
A: DoS cannot refund fees that you have already paid. However, the visa fee is valid for one year from the date of payment.
Q: Can I transfer my visa fee to apply for a US visa outside of Russia?
A: Visa fees are not transferrable outside the country in which you paid the visa fee. To apply outside Russia, you must begin a new visa application and pay the visa fee according to that location’s instructions.
Q: Why did the US Embassy cancel visa interviews scheduled before September 1, 2017?
A: The US Mission in Russia has already begun planning for departures and staff reductions in order to meet the Russian government’s September 1, 2017, deadline for the US personnel reduction.
Q: I live in Belarus. Can I still apply for a visa in Russia?
A: No. DoS will reschedule visa appointments for Belarussian applicants who have already paid the visa application fee. The DoS encourages residents of Belarus to schedule nonimmigrant visa appointments at the US Embassy Warsaw; the US Embassy Kyiv; or the US Embassy Vilnius.
Q: Why do I need an interview for a nonimmigrant visa (NIV)?
A: The interview is a legal US requirement that applies worldwide. Exceptions include:
Diplomats and official government travel (including UN, other international organizations, and diplomats in transit).
Renewal within same class of visa within one year of expiration (consular officer discretion – may require an interview).
The exception does not apply to visa applicants applying for a different type of nonimmigrant visa. The US requires an interview for such applicants.
Q: Will my immigrant visa (IV) appointment be canceled? How will the State Department inform me of this?
A: Staffing changes will also affect scheduling of a limited number of immigrant visa (IV) applications. DoS will contact affected applicants if there is a change in the time and date of their interview.
Q: What services will be available for American citizens?
A: The US Embassy Moscow and the three US consulates in Russia will continue to provide the full range of American Citizen Services, including passports, reports of birth, assistance to victims of crime, emergency loans, and prison visits. For American Citizen Services hours, please check here.

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