In early October, we reported that US visa processing in Turkey had been suspended amid security concerns, and that the government of Turkey had responded with a suspension of visa processing for US citizens.

As of November 11, 2017, the US Mission to Turkey announced that it has resumed nonimmigrant (temporary) visa processing at posts in Turkey on a limited basis, with a reduced number of visa appointments available. Individuals who have an appointment scheduled for a future date may attend that appointment unless they are notified that the appointment has been cancelled. Appointments cancelled as a result of the earlier suspension may be rescheduled through the online consular appointment system.

Individuals from Turkey who have valid US visas may continue to travel to the United States.

The Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC has also announced the resumption of visa processing for US citizens on a limited basis at its diplomatic and consular missions in the United States.

The information currently available on this situation is quite limited, but Mintz Levin will monitor the situation and provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, please contact your Mintz Levin immigration attorney with any questions.

In a continuation of the diplomatic tit-for-tat with Russia, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow announced on Monday, August 21, 2017, that it would suspend issuance of nonimmigrant visas for eight days starting August 23rd. Nonimmigrant visa issuance will resume at the Embassy on September 1st, but will be suspended indefinitely at other posts in Russia.

The Embassy’s statement cites the Russian government’s cap on personnel at the U.S. mission there as the reason for this decision. Nonimmigrant visa appointments already scheduled for this time are being cancelled and notifications sent to applicants. Applicants with cancelled appointments will have to reschedule at the Embassy in Moscow for a future date regardless of their location in Russia. For incoming university students, the Embassy plans to release a block of appointments to apply for F-1 and J-1 visas in early September.

This suspension of nonimmigrant visa issuance does not directly impact immigrant visa processing, but staffing issues may dictate the need to reschedule some of these appointments. Impacted immigrant visa applicants will be notified of any changes to their scheduled appointment times.

The US Consulate in Toronto has introduced “streamlined” registration for companies applying for E-1 Treaty Trader or E-2 Investor registrations. In addition, E-1 and E-2 visa processing for employees of companies with valid registrations has been expanded to the US Embassy in Ottawa and US Consulates General in Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal.  Applicants may also continue to apply in Toronto.  Continue Reading US Consulates in Canada Expand E-1/E-2 Visa Processing

In an update to our post from January 25, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday further restricted visa-free travel to the U.S. for people who have traveled to Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. If visited in the last five years, since March 1, 2011, an otherwise eligible individual is precluded from using the Visa Waiver Program to enter the U.S. for business or tourism. Those travelers to Libya, Somalia, and Yemen must apply for a nonimmigrant visitor’s visa at a U.S. consular post abroad, where they will be subject to the normal vetting process for U.S. visas. The restriction on people who have visited Libya, Somalia, and Yemen come as part of DHS’s implementation of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act that was enacted as part of the year-end spending bill. Continue Reading Visa-Waiver Program Further Restricted for Travelers of Libya, Somalia, and Yemen

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” into law. On January 21, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) began implementing changes to the Visa Waiver Program (“VWP”). There are two main changes to the program: individuals who have traveled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, and Syria since March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions) and/or are dual nationals of one of those countries and a VWP country are, with limited exceptions, no longer eligible for the VWP. However, these individuals may apply for a nonimmigrant visitor’s visa at a US consular post abroad, where they will be subject to the normal vetting process for US visas. Continue Reading CBP releases FAQ on Visa Waiver Program: Rule Changes

Canada has mandated registration in a new electronic travel authorization program (“eTA”) for many individuals who do not require visas to travel to Canada. Introduced in August 2015, the program becomes mandatory for many visa-exempt individuals traveling to Canada by air on or after March 15, 2016. Individuals traveling to Canada by land or sea are exempt from registering. Citizens of the United States are exempt from the eTA system regardless of whether they travel to Canada by air, land, or sea.  Continue Reading Canada Mandates New Electronic Travel Authorization Program

The recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino are going to result in increased security checks for visa applicants at U.S. consular posts. We also anticipate Congress to at least review the Visa Waiver Program for potential changes, based on President Obama’s address to the nation. Referencing one of the San Bernardino terrorists who allegedly had come to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program (there is also reporting that she came to the U.S. under the K-1 visa program but we cannot verify the facts), Obama called for Congress to look carefully at the rules of the program. We don’t know what this means, but we are likely to see more restrictions to the Visa Waiver eligibility criteria in the coming months. There will certainly be more interest in Congress to make reforms relating to security and visas generally.

Continue Reading Post Paris and San Bernardino Attacks: Visa Policies Under More Scrutiny

On June 11, 2012, President Obama signed legislation that would add Israel to the list of countries eligible for nonimmigrant E-2 treaty investor visas. This was a substantial positive development in the creation of stronger commercial ties between the United States and Israel. The E-2 visa should enhance and facilitate economic and commercial interaction between the United States and Israel. We have been in a three-year holding pattern, though, waiting for the Israeli government to create a reciprocal visa for United States citizens wishing to invest in businesses and live in Israel.

Continue Reading E-2 Visas May be Available to Israelis by end of 2015