''Window to America'' opened for Kazan citizens through Kazakhstan
Realnoe Vremya compares the possibilities of obtaining a visa to the United States via third countries
Obtaining visas in the US consulates general in third countries is almost the only opportunity to visit the United States for Russian citizens. The Moscow Embassy has long ceased to sign up for an interview, so people will eventually have to go abroad for an interview. As Realnoe Vremya found out, the most popular country for Russians in this matter remains Kazakhstan — it combines easy entry, possibility of the interview in Russian and a number of other factors. But in any case, those wishing to visit the United States will have to wait at least a month. Read more in the article of Realnoe Vremya.
The Moscow Embassy refusals
The United States have formally resumed the issuance of nonimmigrant visas in Russia from 1 September, however, only in the Moscow Embassy. In fact, the issuance of visas on the territory of the Russian Federation has been terminated at all. Realnoe Vremya received confirmation in Kazan visa agencies about the impossibility to schedule an appointment in Moscow Consualte General. The only option to obtain a U.S. visa now only remains going to the US Consulate in third countries.
Kazakhstan: inexpensive and in Russian
The most popular option remains Kazakhstan — most of the visa agencies offer to apply for a visa through it. The required documents in this case are collected in Kazan, the application is submitted electronically, also it requires consular dues — now it is about 10,000 rubles for a tourist visa and it is not refunded regardless of the approval of the application. After that you need to sign up for an interview — by phone or through a personal account.
Even when applying through a third country, the period of visa issuance will still be noticeable. So, the First visa application centre informed that currently in Kazakhstan the Consulate General signs up for 6 December. The visa application centres in other countries found it difficult to name even approximate date. However, the interview itself should take less than half an hour, and a passport will be delivered to Russia within three days (by the American company Pony Express).
Popularity of Kazakhstan is connected with several factors. The most obvious — the Russians are not required visa to enter Kazakhstan. The visa application centre Sputnik also drew attention to the fact that the interview at the Consulate General of Kazakhstan will be held in Russian in contrast to many other countries. Besides, Kazakhstan has one of the largest among the neighboring countries staff — 712 people. In addition, the two-way ticket to Alma-Ata, where the American Embassy is located, now costs approximately 15,400 for one person (data is given for a flight at the beginning of December).
English-speaking go left, those having Schengen — right
A similar by number of employees consulate is located in Georgia. Besides, it is easy to enter this country for the citizens of Russia: they just need to have a valid foreign travel passport. However, the interview is held in English, the ticket will cost by 10,000 rubles more.
The Agency Visavic called two more countries where the interview is conducted in Russian — Latvia and Estonia. Moreover, it is even cheaper to fly to interview to these countries than to Kazakhstan: a ticket to Tallinn costs 14,500 rubles, to Riga – 11,500 rubles. But the number of employees in the Latvian Consulate General — 184, and in Estonian —104, which can cause delays with the interview. Besides, to get there, Russians are required a Schengen visa. That is, these options can be optimal for those who already have this visa.
''The tourists understand the situation''
The head of the tourism division of Skyland Travel Alyona Surortseva said that earlier a popular place for interviews was the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, but now it's impossible to sign up because of a surge of applications.
''There was a variant through Baku as there are often direct flights from Kazan, and with high probability the interview will be in Russian,'' explains Surovtseva. ''But in Baku, while the customers were thinking, the queue [for an interview] was already full. So, all the recent cases is Riga. I must say that in Riga there are many successful cases of successful interviews. <...> In Riga they communicate in Russian with those who indicate in the questionnaire that they speak only Russian.''
Sergey Pasechnik: ''There are also alternative options, for example, through the Baltic States and other countries. But personally we are waiting until the issue is resolved.'' Photo: Maksim Platonov
CEO of the company Companion SP Sergey Pasechnik said that tours in the US are taken by only those who already have a valid visa.
''There are also alternative options, for example, through the Baltic States and other countries. But personally we are waiting until the issue is resolved,'' he said. ''Our tourists understand it and are also waiting. Those who have a visa – they go. I think that this situation will continue for another two or three months.''