Changes in U.S. Visa Applications Affect Russia, Azerbaijan

Several overseas countries are changing their process for applying and obtaining a U.S. visa. Azerbaijani and Russian citizens are among those who have or will experience changes of the process.

Citizens of Azerbaijan are now able to pay for their U.S. visa via a credit card payment during the online registration for an interview. This process, which went into effect on December 27, allows applicants to skip the next stage of the procedure, and go right to choosing the date and time for an interview at the embassy. According to News.Az, the first interview will begin on January 3.

In Russia, individuals seeking a U.S. visa will now have a lower consular fee starting on January 1, 2013, according to the Information and Press Department of the Foreign Ministry. Russian citizens applying for a B1/B2 visa will not have a reduced fee, which is for business travelers.

“We are very pleased to be able to say that the parties’ agreement to reduce consular fees completely corresponds to the mutual desire to simplify visa formalities for our countries’ citizens,” the Foreign Ministry reported according to the Moscow News. “We hope that this will promote economic, cultural, academic and humanitarian relations between Russia and the United States and will be a significant step towards the further liberalization of our bilateral visa regime, eventually leading to its full cancellation.”

On August 29, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow also released a statement that Russian and American travelers for business or tourism would be eligible for multiple entries during a period of 36 months. During this time, the fee for Russians entering the United States was reduced from $100 to $20 for business or tourism.