Tuesday, July 12, 2011

US Embassy #Syria Suspends All Visa Services Until Further Notice

Via US Embassy Damascus, posted on July 11, 2011 | Status of US Embassy Visa and Consular Services:

All visa services at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus have been suspended until further notice.  The Embassy regrets the inconvenience this temporary suspension causes for persons wishing to visit or immigrate to the United States.  The Embassy will commence visa operations gradually as circumstances permit.

The Embassy will continue to process the visa applications of anyone who was interviewed prior to the suspension of visa services.

Applicants who need to travel to the United States before resumption of full visa services in Damascus are welcome to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at any U.S. embassy or consulate outside Syria which provides visa services.  Information on the requirements for doing so and the locations of U.S. visa-issuing embassies and consulates is available at www.travel.state.gov.  The non-refundable MRV application fee must be paid in the country of application, according to procedures established by each U.S. embassy or consulate.

Read in full here.

The US Embassy in Damascus continues to recommend that American citizens not travel to Syria at this time. On July 6, Ambassador Ford explains:

"Earlier this year several U.S. citizens, including tourists, residents and in one case a diplomat, were detained by Syrian security forces without notification to the Embassy.  In at least one case, absolutely no security issue was involved and the government sought to exploit the detention for purely political reasons. In other instances, U.S. citizens were blocked from movement around Syria at military checkpoints.  Given these incidents and the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, the U.S. Government has recommended that U.S. citizens not travel to Syria now, and the U.S. Embassy has reduced its staffing to minimize the number of persons exposed to risk.  Until that risk is reduced not only for diplomats, but for all U.S. citizens, the warning against travel to Syria will remain in place.  Unlike private U.S. citizens, the U.S. ambassador has special security arrangements whenever he moves around Syria and his situation has no impact on the evaluation of risk to private U.S. citizens."

Fox News is reporting that State Department Spokesman Victoria Nuland said today that the Syrian Foreign Ministry has returned the U.S. flag that was stolen and replaced with a Syrian flag during the mob attack on the embassy.  Apparently, the Syrian government has also arrested six people in connection with the attacks and it has replaced damaged U.S. security cameras and improved Syrian security forces around the U.S. embassy.


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