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Russians Who Want US Immigration Must Approach American Embassy In Poland: US State Dept

The US State Department said on Sunday that Russians wishing to apply for an immigrant visa to the United States must now travel to the US Embassy in Warsaw.


Image: AP

Russians intending to apply for an immigrant visa to the United States must now go to the US Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, according to the US State Department. The action comes after Russia reduced the number of US diplomatic personnel stationed in the country. Notably, the distance between Warsaw and Moscow is approximately 1,200 kilometres.

Russians have been added to the "list of homeless nationalities" by the US Department of State, which updated its Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) on immigrant visas this week, according to RT News. This categorisation is normally designated for nations where the United States does not have a consular presence or where consular personnel are unable to utilise their visas.

Moscow slams US' action

Moscow has already slammed US' action, with Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accusing Washington of deliberately destroying its own consulate services in Russia. According to a DW News report, she stated that US diplomats, for many years, have been dismantling the system of consular services in Russia. She also claimed that the US has twisted its own freedom values and made the visa application process a nightmare.

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated drastically in recent years. Diplomatic expulsions on a tit-for-tat basis from both Washington and Moscow have left embassies and consulates understaffed, disrupting normal operations. 

The US Department of State issued a travel advisory to Americans in June, telling them not to travel to Russia due to terrorist concerns and a lack of consular help.

US State Department admits that the process is more difficult for Russians

The US State Department said in a statement that the Russian government's decision to prohibit the United States from retaining, hiring or contracting Russian or third-country staff has a significant impact on their ability to provide consular services.

It also admitted that the decision would make the process more difficult for Russians and advised the candidates not to fly to Warsaw unless they had scheduled an appointment first, according to DW News. US' statement said that it took into account a variety of variables, including location, travel availability, application convenience, the percentage of Russian speakers among the locally involved professionals and staff availability. 

Image: AP

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