By Vanessa Seckin, Esq. - The United States has suspended non-immigrant visa services at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, after the arrest of a Turkish employee of the embassy. In response, Turkey has imposed travel restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Turkey.
Impact of non-immigrant visa suspension at U.S. posts in Turkey
• Non-immigrant visa suspension. The U.S. Mission to Turkey has suspended all nonimmigrant visa services at its diplomatic facilities in Turkey, according to a statement released yesterday. This includes B-1/B-2, H-1B/H-4, J-1, F-1 and L-1 visa issuance.
• Immigrant visa services. Immigrant visa services are not affected by the suspension.
• Current visa holders. Although the U.S. government has not addressed current visa holders, Turkish nationals holding valid U.S. visas should not be affected by the suspension and should be able to travel to the United States, provided they are otherwise admissible.
Travel restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Turkey
• Suspension of new visa issuance. Effective October 9, U.S. citizens cannot obtain Turkish physical sticker visas, e-visas or border visas. U.S. citizens arriving in Turkey today, October 9, may not be allowed to purchase a sticker visa at the Turkish border, passport police officers have indicated.
• Effect on current visa holders. U.S. citizens holding valid sticker visas, e-visas or border visas issued prior to October 9, 2017 can enter Turkey.
• Effect on inactivated visa holders. Holders of e-visas or Assembly, Maintenance and Service (AMS) visas issued prior to October 9 but that are not yet activated by an entrance to Turkey prior to October 9 will not be allowed to enter Turkey.
• Effect on work/residence permit holders. U.S. citizens with valid work and/or residence cards can travel in and out of Turkey at this time. It is not yet known whether or how they will be affected in the future.
• Duration of restrictions. The restrictions on U.S. citizens were imposed on October 8, and will remain in place until further notice.