The U.S. Embassy in Moscow will temporarily resume consular services following the Russian government's move to postpone a ban on employing foreign nationals.
'Consequently, through July 16, U.S. Embassy Moscow will temporarily resume routine U.S. citizen services, including passport services, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and limited notarial services,' the U.S. Embassy in the Russian capital said in a statement on May 14, adding that it 'will also provide immigrant visa processing for priority and urgent cases.'
The statement does not say that it will resume issuing nonimmigrant visas, an issue that was widely discussed by those in Russia who planned to travel to the United States in the coming months.
The statement also reminded U.S. citizens in Russia to take into account a June 15 deadline set by the Russian government in April when a temporary extension to visas, residence permits, and immigration documents expires.
The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said on April 30 that it was reducing the number of consular services because of restrictions Russia had imposed on it over the hiring of local staff.
Last month, President Vladimir Putin signed a law limiting the number of local staff working at foreign diplomatic missions and other agencies, and ordered the Russian government to draw up a list of 'unfriendly' states that will be subject to the restrictions.
Washington and Moscow have entered a new phase of heightened tensions, with the White House announcing punishing sanctions over cyberattacks, election interference, and threats against U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Further souring the mood has been the issue of the health and jailing of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny, Russia's dealings with eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and allegations of Russian involvement in a deadly explosion at a munitions depot in the Czech Republic in 2014.
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