U.S. and Turkey Suspend Nonimmigrant Visa Services

November 06, 2017

 

On November 6, 2017, Reuters reported that the United States has partially lifted the suspension of nonimmigrant visa services at posts in Turkey, and that the Turkish government is responding in a reciprocal way. The nonimmigrant visas page of the U.S. embassy in Turkey states:

We have resumed processing non-immigrant visas, but only on a limited basis. Therefore, a reduced number of appointments will be available.

On the same day, in a "Statement from the Embassy of Turkey in Washington, DC," Turkey announced:

Turkey is resuming to process visa applications of U.S. citizens at its diplomatic and consular missions in the USA on a "limited basis".

On October 8, 2017, the United States had suspended nonimmigrant visa services at all consular posts in Turkey, including the embassy in Ankara and the consular posts in Istanbul and Adana. The suspension applied to issuance of nonimmigrant visas for citizens of all countries, not just Turkish citizens, but it did not revoke visas that had already been issued. In a reciprocal move, the Embassy of Turkey in the United States suspended visa services at the Turkish embassy and consulates in the United States, for U.S. citizens. The Turkish measure also suspended issuance of "sticker visas," e-Visas, and border visas for U.S. citizens.  

U.S. Visas for Applicants Applying in Turkey

On October 8, 2017, the U.S. embassy in Turkey announced that it temporarily suspended nonimmigrant visa services at all posts in Turkey, including the embassy in Ankara and the consular posts in Istanbul and Adana. The suspension notice is general, and at this time appears to cover all nonimmigrant visa services at consular posts in Turkey, even if an applicant is not a Turkish citizen, but it does not revoke visas that have already been issued.

This suspension is unrelated to the recent Proclamation that suspends entry for nationals of eight other countries. U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass explained in an October 9, 2017 statement that the decision is based in part on the recent arrests by the Turkish government of two Turkish citizens who were employed by the U.S. embassy. Ambassador Bass also described the scope of the suspension:

"Now this suspension of services is not a visa ban on Turkish citizens. It’s a suspension of our consideration of new visa applications. If you have a valid visa, you can still travel to the United States. If you want to apply for a visa at another U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Turkey, you are free to do so." [emphasis added]

"This was not a decision we took lightly and it’s a decision we took with great sadness. We realize that the suspension of visa services will inconvenience people. We hope it will not last long, but at this time we can’t predict how long it will take to resolve this matter. The duration will be a function of ongoing discussions between our two governments about the reasons for the detention of our local staff members and the Turkish Government’s commitment to protecting our facilities and our personnel here in Turkey."

Stay tuned to the News & Events page on the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in Turkey website for updates.

Turkish Visas for U.S. Citizens

In a reciprocal move, the Embassy of Turkey in the United States issued a statement on October 8, 2017, modeled after the United States' initial announcement, that also suspends visa services at the Turkish embassy and consulates in the U.S., for citizens of the United States:

"Recent events have forced the Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the U.S. to the security of the Turkish Mission facilities and personnel. In order to minimize the number of the visitors to our diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. while this assessment proceeds, effective immediately we have suspended all visa services regarding the U.S. citizens at our diplomatic and consular missions in the U.S. This measure will apply to sticker visas as well as e-Visas and border visas."

In a Message for U.S. Citizens, the U.S. embassy in Turkey provided this summary of the Turkish government's move:

"The government of Turkey announced the immediate suspension of visa services to U.S. citizens, effective October 8, 2017.  According to the government’s announcement, this includes the issuance of physical "sticker" visas at border posts, and the online Turkish electronic visa (e-visa). U.S. citizens planning travel to Turkey, and who have questions regarding this regulation should contact the closest Embassy or Consulate of Turkey, or the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs."