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Travel Update: Nonimmigrant Visa Issuance Suspended at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Russia

The Russian Government recently imposed a personnel cap on the U.S. mission in Russia. As a result, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates now lack the personnel to handle the normal influx of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants, and NIV issuance has been temporarily suspended beginning Aug. 23, 2017. Operations are set to resume on Sept. 1 but on a greatly reduced scale, and nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow only.

What You Need to Know:

  • NIV interviews at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice;
  • As of 0900 Moscow time Monday, Aug., 21, the U.S. will begin cancelling current NIV appointments in Russia;
  • Affected applicants will receive an email with a phone number to call to reschedule their interview at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow;
  • NIV applicants who have their interviews cancelled should call +7 (495) 745-3388 or 8-800-100-2554 (ITFN) to reschedule;
  • University students studying in the U.S. will be offered a visa appointment in early September;
  • Since visa operations will be greatly reduced, NIV appointments will be prioritized with first priority given to officials of the UN, international organizations with offices in the U.S. and bilateral missions. Other nonimmigrant visa applications will also be given priority, including travel for medical or family emergencies;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will continue to process nonimmigrant visas without an interview for those who qualify. This includes individuals renewing within the same class of visa and within one year of expiration;
  • These staffing changes will also affect the scheduling of some immigrant visas, but affected applicants will be contacted if there is a change as to the time and date of their interview;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg will no longer accept new visa applications for residents of Belarus;
  • Belarussian applicants who have already paid the application fee will have their NIV appointments rescheduled, and all residents of Belarus are encouraged to schedule NIV appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Kyiv or Vilnius;
  • The U.S. Embassy and 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.

These changes will likely affect a large number of Russian citizens that either currently work or are planning on working in the U.S. If you have questions regarding your current status or about immigrating to the U.S., please contact our office to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys today! For more information about the types of visas available to Russian citizens, please visit our website at