#3 - JRL 7063
February 14, 2003
25% of Russian Applicants Refused US Visas
MOSCOW, February 14. Last year 30 thousand Russians were refused US visas. This was revealed today at a press conference by Igor Turitsyn, the chairman of the Russian-American Public Visa Council. Turitsyn said that roughly 25% of applications for US visas are turned down. 'This is a very high percent and in the future it would appear that the situation is only going to get worse,' believes Turitsyn. He said that usually the percentage of refusals should be no higher than 3%.
'The Russian and US embassies are currently in a state of consular war,' said Turitsyn. 'The difficulties Russians face today in receiving US visas are the main obstacle to the development of Russian-American relations.' Turitsyn said that a visa council was set up on February 7, 2003 'in order to defuse the situation.' The council is a voluntary society uniting people interested in improving Russian-American relations. 'Its aim is to support contacts between people who monitor the visa policies of the Russian and US governments, and to end consular wars,' said Turitsyn.