America struck back. And was it not by politicians but by ordinary citizens. After Moscow demanded to reduce the staff of the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. side said that in the whole of Russia from 23 August suspended the procedure for issuing visas. We are talking about the so-called non-immigrant visas for tourist, business and educational trips. However, the final road for those wishing to visit the United States is not closed, after some time promised the said procedure to restore. But not everywhere and not in the same scale. That is the American response was not fatal, but painful and unpleasant.
photo: Natalia Gubernatorova
So, what will happen with the Russians, who want to travel in tourist or business trip to America? From 1 September interviews for nonimmigrant visas will only be held at the American Embassy in Moscow. And the interview for visa at the consulates in Saint-Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok are suspended until “further notice”.
How will all this look like in practical terms? Already in the morning of 21 August, the Embassy of the United States began the process of cancellation designated in all the US consulates in Russia interviews for nonimmigrant visa. Those applicants whose interview is cancelled, the offer by telephone +7(495)7453388 or 8(800)1002554 to reschedule at a later date at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
The same applies to applicants whose interviews were assigned to American consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.
Will affect innovation and citizens of Belarus: the American Embassy in Moscow and Consulate in Saint-Petersburg overturned the reception of applications for visas from Belarusian citizens, has scheduled interviews will be reassigned. The American Embassy recommends that citizens of Belarus to apply for interviews for nonimmigrant visas at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Kiev and Vilnius.
As explained by American diplomats, “the possibility of the consular Department to conduct interviews in the future will be significantly limited due to the fact that we had to significantly reduce the number of employees of the U.S. mission in Russia is to fulfill the requirement of the Russian Federation”.
Speaking about the order of priority interviews for visa USA, Embassy United States argues that priority should be given to the official persons traveling on a business trip to the UN, an international organization whose offices are located in the United States, and bilateral meetings. Also, depending on the level of personnel available, priority may be provided to other categories of applicants for non-immigrant visa (for example, in cases of emergency travel for medical or family need for funeral, hospitalization or participation in litigation).
For students at American universities students promise to reserve time to conduct student interviews in the first part of September.
From the interview to receive a nonimmigrant visa, according to information from the U.S. Embassy in Russia can be exempted only diplomats and officials traveling on a business trip (including trips to the UN, other international organizations and diplomats in transit through the territory of the United States), as well as persons applying for a visa in the same category, which they had previously the validity of which has expired not more than one year ago (at the discretion of the consular officer, an interview may be required). Those who apply for a visa in another category, are required to pass an interview.
“It is important to note that in large-scale reduction of staff (meaning not only the diplomats but also the staff), the American Embassy is technically not able to carry out the whole range of functions that it had before, — said in comments “MK” the General Director of the Center for political information Alexei Mukhin. — Therefore, it is likely that political content in the news there. On the other hand, of course, the US will try to make hostages of the American visa applicants and to bring more trouble to the Russian leadership through people who travel to the United States. But this medal has a reverse side: the intellectual immigration to the US from Russia, apparently, will be reduced.
In my memory was one case where the United States Embassy has stopped issuing visas. But it was sporadic and has been associated with technical failures.
It is clear that without a response, this measure will be a diplomatic war will continue. I hope that by the withdrawal of ambassadors will not come. Mead, anyway, demonstrates goodwill: the new US Ambassador in Russia Mr. huntsman received the approval of the Russian side even before his candidacy was considered in America. That is, Moscow strongly emphasizes the peacefulness in this matter.”
“Of course, similar cases periodically happen before — says journalist and analyst-americanist Mikhail Taratuta. Was common in diplomatic practice. In this case, it is definitely a political move, a response to the forced reduction of American personnel in Russia. For example, the Embassy of Greece in Russia last year issued about 600 thousand visas at diplomatic staff of approximately 40 people. The Americans gave the order of 130-180 thousand visas with a much larger number of employees. So if you want the U.S. Embassy could continue issuing visas in the same volume. One gets the impression that this is just such a practice of “mutual meanness.”
Until recently, a certain restraint in this matter was not. On the contrary, in the last five years was lifted some restrictions and a U.S. visa Russians began to get easier. Now the process becomes more complex for purely technical reasons: all those wishing to travel to the U.S. will have to get to Moscow. In addition, the number of permits issued for entry is likely to be reduced, and reception hours will make short and uncomfortable. We will soon witness many more of these “small bites”.
Reaction: Russia mirror response to the demarche of the US visas
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