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6 Feb, 2019 23:22

Lack of interest: US shuts down American citizenship office in Moscow

Lack of interest: US shuts down American citizenship office in Moscow

Residents of the former Soviet Union seeking US citizenship will have to do so in Greece, after the US announced it would shutter the Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Moscow due to lack of interest in its services.

Citing a “significant decrease in workload,” the USCIS announced on Tuesday it would permanently close the field office in Moscow on March 29, with February 28 as the last day it will accept applications and appointments.

A limited range of services will be transferred to the US Embassy in Moscow, but most will be taken over by the field office in Athens, Greece, USCIS said.

This will affect the citizens of not just Russia, but also Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan – all formerly part of the Soviet Union.

Regular visa services will presumably still be available through the embassy and the consulates. However, the US diplomatic presence in Russia has been sharply curtailed over the past two years, as a result of several rounds of tit-for-tat expulsions, started by the Obama administration at the end of 2016.

Also on rt.com Russia to close US consulate in St. Petersburg, expel 60 diplomats as Washington did – Lavrov

Most recently, the US expelled 60 Russian diplomats – including members of the UN mission – after the UK accused Moscow of a “chemical attack” on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, and Russia retaliated by sending the same number of US diplomats home. The Russian consulate in Seattle and the US consulate in St. Petersburg were also closed at the time.

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