US Embassy in Moscow temporarily resumes halted services

The US Embassy in Moscow said Friday it will temporarily resume some of the consular services it had halted earlier due to a Russian ban on hiring local residents.
US Embassy in Moscow temporarily resumes halted services
US Embassy in Moscow, Russia (Photo: Reuters)


The embassy said last month that the ban forced it to reduce its consular workforce by 75 Per cent and starting May 12, it would only provide emergency US citizen services and a very limited number of immigrant visas in case of life-or-death emergencies. 
It said that non-immigrant visa processing for non-diplomatic travel would cease and it would stop offering routine notarial services, consular reports of birth abroad or passport renewal services for the foreseeable future. 
On Friday, however, the embassy announced that it will resume “routine US citizen services," including passport services, consular reports of birth abroad, and limited notarial services, as well as immigrant visa processing for priority and urgent cases, through July 16 after the Russian government informed it of the “intent to postpone” the hiring ban. 
Halting consular services leaves Russian businessmen, exchange students and romantic partners adrift because they won't be able to obtain visas in Russia. 
Moscow has moved to ban the US Embassy and consular offices from hiring Russian and third-country nationals as part of its retaliation to a set of new U.S. sanctions imposed over Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and involvement in the SolarWind hack of federal agencies — activities Russia has denied. 
The US ordered 10 Russian diplomats out, targeted dozens of companies and people and imposed new curbs on Russia's ability to borrow money. Russia quickly retaliated by ordering 10 U.S. diplomats to leave, blacklisting eight current and former US officials and tightening requirements for US Embassy operations.

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