Limited Visa Processing Resumes in Turkey

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

Alexander J. Segal's picture

November 7, 2017 Update

On November 6, 2017, the United States Embassy in Ankara announced that it is resuming “limited visa services in Turkey.” However, the statement makes clear that this limited resumption is based on “preliminary assurances,” and that many of the concerns that led to the suspension in October 2017 remain. We will continue to update the website with information on visa services in Turkey as it becomes available.

See News Release [PDF version].

Nonimmigrant Visa Services

October 8, 2017

On October 8, 2017, the U.S. Mission to Turkey suspended all nonimmigrant visa services at all U.S. diplomatic facilities in Turkey. On October 9, 2017, the United States Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, explained the reasoning for the decision and what the decision will mean going forward. We have embedded the video of the statement from Ambassador Bass, courtesy of the U.S. Embassy Ankara, below:

The suspension comes in response to Turkey's arrest of a Turkish staff member of the U.S. diplomatic mission to Turkey and Turkey's handling of the matter.

Ambassador Bass emphasized that the “suspension of nonimmigrant visa services is not a ban on Turkish citizens.” Because the suspension only applies to nonimmigrant visa services, immigrant visa adjudications will proceed normally in Turkey. Furthermore, he explained, the suspension of nonimmigrant services functions to suspend only the consideration of new nonimmigrant visa applications. In effect, this means that Turkish nationals with valid nonimmigrant visas may travel to the United States on that visa. But a Turkish national who lacks a valid nonimmigrant visa is now unable to apply for a new nonimmigrant visa in Turkey. In the alternative, the Turkish national can apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate outside of Turkey.

Ambassador Bass explained that while it is the hope of the United States that the issues are resolved expeditiously, there is no current timetable as to how long the suspension of nonimmigrant visa services in Turkey will last. It is important to note that this decision has no effect on services for U.S. citizens in Turkey.

A Turkish national with questions about the suspension should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for case-specific guidance on what options may be available to him or her. We will update the site with more information as it becomes available.