Tensions between Washington and Moscow have taken yet another downturn. After U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia for attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election, Vladimir Putin retaliated in early August by ordering the reduction of U.S. diplomatic staff by 755, or about two-thirds.
In response, the U.S. embassy announced that it will be suspending non-immigrant visas for eight days. According to ABC News, the suspension will be permanent at consulates in Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, and St. Petersburg. Visa operations will only resume in the U.S. embassy building in Moscow on September 1.
According to a spokesperson from the U.S. embassy, despite Russia’s cap on the number of embassy staff, personnel levels will still be sufficient for the embassy to “carry out essential elements of our mission.”
According to NBC News, Russia has not yet retaliated to the suspension of non-immigrant visas, but Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov remarked that Russia has no plan to “take it out on U.S. citizens,” implying that the decision to suspend Russia non-immigrant visas is a slight against the Russian people and not their government.
About 250,000 Russians visited the United States as tourists in 2016, so the suspension of non-immigrant visas has the potential to affect thousands.
U.S. Accused of Trying to Draw Disfavor from Russian Citizens Toward Their Government
Lavrov has stated that the sanctions and the suspension of non-immigrant visas are attempts by the U.S. to stir discontent from Russian citizens toward their government. Even after the suspension has been lifted, Russians who want to apply for a U.S. non-immigrant visa will have to journey to Moscow to do so.
The mounting tension between the U.S. and Russia comes on the heels of unprecedented immigration crackdowns in the United States. If you are worried that your family could be affected by recent changes to U.S. immigration policies, contact Kuck Immigration Partners.
Charles Kuck is an immigration attorney in Atlanta who understands what’s at stake. Whether you’re bringing loved ones to the United States, defending yourself in immigration court, or going through applications for legal status, he will give your case the individual attention that it deserves.
Mr. Kuck is the past National President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and he has filed and won hundreds of asylum cases over the last 25 years.
Call 404-816-8611 today to discuss your case in an initial consultation. If you would like to learn more about U.S. immigration laws, visit the USAttorneys website.