On November 6, 2017, nearly one month after suspending nonimmigrant visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara and the U.S. Consulates in Istanbul and Adana due to the arrest of a U.S. Consular Employee in Istanbul, the U.S. Mission in Turkey announced the “limited resumption of visa services in Turkey.” Per the statement, lifting the recent suspension followed “initial high level assurances from the Government of Turkey that there are no additional local employees of our Mission in Turkey under investigation.” According to the U.S. Mission in Turkey, the Turkish Government also provided assurances that “local staff will not be detained or arrested for performing their official duties and that Turkish authorities will inform the U.S. government in advance if the Government of Turkey intends to detain or arrest a member of our local staff in the future.”
The Statement is short on details concerning what “limited visa services” actually entails. However, a Q&A released in conjunction with the Statement indicates that processing nonimmigrant visas on “a limited basis” translates to “a reduced number of appointments” available to non-immigrant visa applicants. Beyond longer wait times, it is unclear if nonimmigrant visa services will return to normal.
This move, in conjunction with the Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s trip to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with Vice President Mike Pence, hopefully represents a cooling-off of recent tensions between the United States and Turkey. However, if the Embassy of Turkey’s statement announcing it would re-commence visa services is any indication, the Turkish Government does not appear to concede the U.S.’ reasoning for suspending and ultimately resuming visa processing in Turkey.
Many aspects of this issue remain unresolved, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Firm if you have any questions regarding how these actions affect your ability to travel, or to seek assistance in procuring a nonimmigrant visa in a third country.