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State Department: Visas for Russian Nationals to be Processed in Warsaw

Geopolitical events and the Covid pandemic have all but eliminated the issuance of U.S. visas in Russia over the past 12 months.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and two U.S. Consulates General in Russia (Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg) have limited staff, and are providing extremely curtailed consular services, focusing mostly on assisting U.S. citizens.

As a result, on October 21, 2021, the State Department has updated its Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) under Section 9 FAM 504.4-8(E), designating Warsaw, Poland as the post where Russian nationals can apply for Immigrant Visas. Russian nationality is designated a “homeless nationality”, meaning, Russian nationals have greater flexibility in applying as a “third country national” outside of their home country.

Generally, a homeless visa applicant is one who is a citizen of a country in which the U.S. lacks consular representation or in which the political/security situation is unsafe.  Countries whose nationals are considered homeless are listed  below.

HOMELESS NATIONALITIES SELECTED IV PROCESSING POSTS
Cubans Georgetown
Eritreans Addis Ababa and Nairobi
Iranians Abu Dhabi, Ankara, and Yerevan
Russians Warsaw
Libyans Tunis
Somalis Nairobi
South Sudanese Nairobi
Syrians Amman, Beirut (For Palestinians with Syrian Travel Documents)
Venezuelans Bogota
Yemenis Djibouti

 

The State Department has indicated that while the above designated posts are where nationals of the above countries should process if they are in their home countries, if they are in a third country, they can process in the third country. As indicated under 9 FAM 504.4-8(E)(2):   Posts must accept for processing any IV applicant who is physically present in their consular district, provided the applicant has the permission of the host government to remain there legally for a period sufficient to complete processing of the application.

Russian, and, any “homeless” nationals that are required to process in a third country should remember to also check on entry requirements for the country they seek to enter. For example, Russian nationals currently require a Schengen visa to be able to travel to Warsaw, Poland for their IV interviews.

Applicants present in the United States should consider whether they are eligible for Adjustment of Status under Sections 245(a) or (i) rather than consular processing their Immigrant Visa at the consulates overseas.

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