MOSCOW, (Sputnik) – Russians will face problems getting US visas until bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington are normalized, the president and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia (AmCham) told Sputnik on Monday.
Earlier today, the US embassy in Russia announced that non-migration visa processing would be suspended on Wednesday, August 23. The embassy said Moscow’s requirement to cut its staff to 455 diplomats and technical personnel would also affect “the scheduling of a limited number of migration visa applications.”
“So long as the number of [diplomatic] staff remains reduced, the embassy does not see how its capacity can be boosted, that is why that is more a question of normalizing relations,” Alexis Rodzianko said.
He pointed out that the situation would not change the percentage of visa denials as it was related to the technical issue of organizing interviews for visa applicants.
“The requirement of interviews for getting visas was introduced before the decision on reducing the staff of the US diplomatic mission. That is an unplanned effect of the [Russian] decision rather than a political issue,” Rodzianko added.
In late July, Moscow announced that the diplomatic presence of the United States in Russia would be cut by 755 people to 455, the same number of diplomatic personnel that Russia currently has in the United States. The Kremlin said it was a response to new US anti-Russian sanctions.