The US embassy in Russia just announced that they will be cutting consular staff down by 75 percent. Starting May 12th, they will be suspending all visa services for non-immigrant and immigrant visas and they will be reducing their services and staff to only accommodate life and death emergency situations for US citizens. This means that they will not be doing any immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Due to politics, the US embassy has been forced to close or reduce their services. Only emergency services will be offered. It’s not entirely clear what the future of the US embassy will be.
In Russia, there are two US embassies. A month ago, one of those embassies was closed and we were left with just the US embassy in Moscow. And now, those services are being cut. This is not the first time that something like this has happened.
One example would be the US embassy in Venezuela. Diplomatic missions were pulled several years ago from Venezuela. So now, all Venezuelan citizens who are going through an immigrant visa or non-immigrant visa process have to have their interviews in Colombia.
Another example of a country where they don’t have a US embassy that processes immigrant and non-immigrant visas would be Portugal. Those interviews actually happen in Paris. It’s not an entirely new thing that’s happening. It’s an unfortunate thing, for sure and it will definitely cause some additional stress and chaos.
But historically, what we have seen happen is that when there are issues with politics, war, etc. that a US embassy can’t function or accommodate visa services, those individuals will be routed to another country to complete the interview, consular-processing phase of their case.
While no official announcement has been made on that front, we will see more details coming soon and we will definitely keep you posted as we know more. While this is unfortunate, this isn’t the first time that US immigration and the government has had to deal with something like this and we’ll likely hear an announcement that cases will be moved to another country’s US embassy or US consulate.
We’ve had a lot of individuals in our Facebook group who’ve been asking, “I’m just starting my case. My fiancé or my spouse are from Russia. My case is either pending or it’s at the National Visa Center. What do I need to do?”
There’s nothing that you need to do. You’re still eligible to apply for the spouse visa or fiancé visa, depending on what path that you’re on. They will still make a decision on your case. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to prevent anyone from Russia from being able to have a spouse visa, fiancé visa or a tourist visa to come to the US.
It just means that there’s going to be some changes in logistics. Your case is going to stay pending or you’ll have a decision and you’re just going to wait for an interview. You will likely receive additional updates from immigration as to the location of your interview when that time comes.
But just know that there are no actions that you need to take at the present time. It’s just going to be a matter of waiting and seeing what the logistics will be and where interviews will be held or take place. So, no action on your part.