Russia: Change in Procedure to Obtain Visas

05/18/2007

The following notice was sent to Joint Council by the Consular Section in Moscow. The notice details an upcoming change in procedure to obtain visas for adopted children:

“The U.S. embassy in Moscow wishes to alert you to an upcoming change in the procedure to obtain visas for adopted children. As of Monday, June 18, 2007, the embassy’s standard processing time for adoption visas will be two business days.

As we adapt our procedures to more effectively incorporate the security screening steps required under the laws of the United States, we see this change as a key improvement in providing consistent, timely service to our customers.

In accordance with U.S. law, biometric data of visa applicants must be checked via a screening process. This process, while usually completed within a few hours, can occasionally take longer to complete. To ensure consistent service to customers, the embassy must allow for a minimum of 24 hours between the time of document submission and visa issuance.

Application documents will continue to be accepted at the embassy from 9:30 to 11:00 AM on regular business days. However, beginning on Monday, June 18, 2007, families will not be scheduled for interviews at 2:00 PM on the same day as documents are submitted. Instead, families will be scheduled for interview on the following business day at 2:00 PM. Ordinarily, families will be issued the visas and immigration documents following the interview. However, please convey to your clients that we cannot guarantee that visas will always be provided at the interview due to the occasional need for additional processing and/or screening.

As a result of this change in procedure, please note that those families whose visa application documents are submitted on Fridays or days prior to holidays will not be issued visas until the day following the weekend or holiday period. Please alert your clients to this circumstance.

In addition, all adopted children who are 14 years of age or older will need to accompany either their parents or the adoption agency representative to the embassy at the time of document submission so that they can be fingerprinted. By collecting all necessary biometric data at this time, the embassy can get underway with visa processing as early as possible. These applicants will also come to the embassy on the following business day for the actual visa interview.

We appreciate your cooperation with the embassy as we strive to improve our procedures and service, and we thank you for your efforts to assist adopting families with the process of visa application.”

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