US Embassy limits consular services after Russia hiring ban

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The US embassy on Friday said it would severely limit its consular activities due to a Russian ban on hiring local staff.

The embassy said in a statement that starting May 12, it would reduce consular services offered to only include emergency services to U.S. citizens and a very limited number of immigrant visas such as emergencies from life or death.

He noted that the processing of nonimmigrant visas for non-diplomatic travel would cease and that it would cease offering routine notary services, consular birth reports abroad or passport renewal services in the future. predictable.

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Moscow has decided to ban the US embassy and consular offices from hiring Russian and third-country nationals as part of its retaliation for a package of new US sanctions imposed for Russia’s interference in the election. 2020 US presidential election and federal agencies’ involvement in the SolarWind hack – activities Moscow has denied.

The United States has ordered 10 Russian diplomats out, targeted dozens of businesses and people, and placed further restrictions on Russia’s ability to borrow money. Russia quickly retaliated by ordering 10 U.S. diplomats to leave, blacklisting eight current and former U.S. officials, and tightening requirements for U.S. embassy operations.

The US embassy has warned that the provision of emergency services to US citizens in Russia could also be “delayed or limited due to the limited ability of staff to travel outside of Moscow.”

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He warned that he could not answer specific questions about Russian residency or Russian visas and urged any US citizen present in Russia who has an expired visa to leave Russia before the June 15 deadline set by the Russian government.

“We regret that the actions of the Russian government have forced us to reduce our consular staff by 75%, and we will endeavor to offer American citizens as many services as possible,” the embassy said.

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