Russia closed the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg: what to do with visas

Us Embassy: this is a further deterioration of relations

today at 15:47, views: 308

On Thursday evening it became known that Russia took retaliatory measures against the United States and sent 60 American diplomats, and close the Consulate General in St. Petersburg. This was mirrored by the reaction of Moscow to a diplomatic demarche from Washington. Earlier on Monday, 26 March, the us side of solidarity with great Britain was declared persona non grata 60 Russian disetronic and withdrew its consent to the work of the Russian Consulate in Seattle.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

Recall that after the poisoning of ex-GRU officer Sergei Skripal, British Salisbury a number of Western countries, to show solidarity with London, found in the story “the hand of the Kremlin” and sent Russian diplomats from its territory. The Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov has assured that Russia will take similar action against all countries that followed the example of Washington. In addition the Minister noted that the actions of the West around “the things Skripal” – “a mockery of international law.”

At the same time, the state Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “I want to remind you that there is no justification for the Russian response. Our actions were motivated attack on a British citizen and his daughter.” Russian diplomats must leave the United States until April 24, and the building of the Consulate in Seattle is required to vacate until April 2.

And on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Russia said: “Today’s decision by Russia to expel American diplomats marks a further deterioration of relations between the United States and Russia. The unannounced expulsion of the Russian secret service the United States and more than two dozen partner countries and NATO allies earlier this week was an adequate response to the attack committed by the Russians in the UK”.

American diplomats must leave the territory of Russia until April 5, and the Consulate in St. Petersburg is required to leave not later than 31 March. It is clear that the inhabitants of the Russian North-West who want to go to America, will now have visa to travel, for example, in the capital. In the Consulate in Saint Petersburg for several weeks ahead usabili painted the dates of interviews, people on his hands – tickets and hotel reservations, that too much procrastination can just “burn”.

“I sincerely hope that all applications will be forwarded to Moscow a priority. – Going through one of the specialized forums from St. Petersburg, who, like many, cancelled the interview. Although how many of us? Entry for two months almost every day, a man 40 an hour… simply no Words. Since September, waiting for entry”.

“Note further that Moscow will send 58 people – meets a sympathetic interlocutor. – St. Petersburg is unlikely that all the consuls in one day skipped to Moscow and will continue in full operation. And in Moscow, too full record for a long time ahead, which they need to work out”.

The situation with “priority entry” is really contradictory – so, one of the St. Petersburg calls to the visa center said that “no priority will not be just sign up again.”

A separate issue payment of fees. “Cancelled the interview. The question arose for the collection, if the interview is not passed, but the check number for the payment indicated in your profile if this check somehow to re-register at another person, or you can say goodbye to these 160 dollars?”. The answer – “on another person to translate it is impossible to return the money. You can either say goodbye, or within a year after payment of this check to enroll in a new interview.”

The situation of sudden closure of the U.S. Consulate in St. Petersburg “MK” discussed with the Director of one of the centers of visa support Sophia Prokonova. “While there is no clear official information, she says. – Consular center offers to call back in a few days. Those who have already been recorded in the interview in the St. Petersburg Consulate, promised priority when applying in Moscow, but our customers from August 23 to submit documents through the Baltic States mainly. For me, the closing of the Consulate was not a surprise, rather a logical development of events”.

– How is the process of applying for a visa in the Baltic States?

– In the Baltic States to serve have no fear, the difficulty is only that they need to be able to stay for a few days until the Consulate will return your passport with the visa. If you use qualified help of diligent professionals, surprises should not be. The application process is not much different: it is the same all over the world.

Because of these difficulties became less willing to get a visa?

The flow, of course, fell. A delayed visa reasons, that all has to be adjusted…

For many, filing of documents in other countries is the fastest and most adequate way of obtaining a visa. But in order to get to the Consulate in the same Baltic States, you need at least a valid Schengen visa… in the forums and profile groups actively suggest to apply in Kiev, which for many was a surprise, given that for a trip to the Ukraine the Russians will now also need to inform the local guards. And if St Petersburg is relatively easy to go and apply, for example, in Moscow, the rest of the inhabitants of the North-West of Russia St. Petersburg was much more accessible in terms of transportation and geographical proximity. All they now have to go to Moscow (or maybe Vladivostok).

Also citizens interested in what will happen to the building representative. Consulate is located in a beautiful mansion in the heart of the historical center, people joke that it is now possible to transmit it to the ROC, because “in any unclear situation, it is necessary to transfer the building of the Russian Orthodox Church”.

It is obvious that in connection with increase in volumes of consular employees due to the closure of the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg with the problems when applying face and the residents of the Moscow region.

However, now citizens of Russia, for a long time wishing to obtain a U.S. visa, have difficulty. Muscovite Olga says “MK”: “the System is as follows: first fill out the application, pay the legal costs 9600 roubles, choose travel time, which then can not be changed, and you get to the electronic Cabinet for appointment. But essentially there’s no tape. I update office every day, more than 5-7 times per day or block. The problem is that it’s virtually impossible to schedule an appointment. And there is no estimated waiting time. As far as I know the easiest way to get a visa in Kiev. But then you have to pay a fee, but other than that, I’m just afraid to go there, especially alone. The Embassy in Kiev, the recording of the interview is on APR free, and in Riga in July. My friend got a visa a week ago in the Yekaterinburg Consulate – a special portal, which monitors the recording of the interview, was thrown off information about what window opened in Yekaterinburg. But in the queue is 27 thousand people! The day they took six. But if you just multiply and to imagine that all these 27 thousand people, just to get in the queue, each paid the legal costs 9600 roubles, you can see what a huge amount they earned just. Of those 27 thousand visas received, probably two thousand people. And I don’t understand why this amount is not returned, if not it was not possible to obtain a visa. It was not even just the interview. I’m not at fault did not, I was 5 months attended visa. You see, if this was rejected – there was still work for the review of applications, verification of data. But if I couldn’t even schedule the appointment for reasons beyond my control… I don’t understand why due to some political reasons and contradictions, I can’t fly to America just for a personal matter”.

At the end of August last year, the US suspended work on the issuance of nonimmigrant visas to citizens of Russia, then the visa fee is also not returned to the applicants. The American side has explained this measure by the downsizing of the diplomatic corps, when Russia decided to equalize the number of the Embassy. Both countries would remain at 455 diplomats, as well as to September 2017 in Russia employed more than 1,000 U.S. diplomats, the state Department had to reduce staff by almost half.