ND049 - United States and Turkey mutually suspend visa services
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United States and Turkey mutually suspend visa services

The United States and Turkey have suspended all non-immigrant visa services for travel between the two countries. The announcement comes after last week’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul. Apart from a few exceptions, the move indefinitely blocks Americans from traveling to Turkey and vice versa.

Visa services suspended over diplomatic dispute

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey have been getting worse in recent months. They hit a new low following the arrest of a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul. It prompted the United States to suspend non-immigrant visa services for travel to Turkey. In response, Turkey instantly did the same thing.

“Recent events have forced the United States government to reassess the commitment of the government of Turkey to the security of US mission and personnel,” CNN quotes from the statement by the US mission in Ankara.

Turkey copy-pasted the statement, altering just the countries’ names: “Recent events have forced Turkish Government to reassess the commitment of the Government of the United States to the security of Turkish Mission facilities and personnel.”

The Turkish embassy said the measure, effective immediately, would "apply to visas in passports as well as e-Visas and visas acquired at the border." Majority of US nationals traveling to Turkey buy their visas at the border, mostly at international airports like Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

Meanwhile, the U.S. directive means that Turks will not be issued with visas to visit the United States, except when they plan to move there. The US visa waiver program does not include Turkey, which means Turkish travelers are required to apply for a non-immigrant visa through US missions. Non-immigrant visas include those for business, tourism, and study, as well as specialist visas, including journalist and diplomatic visas.

Despite the announcement, direct flights to the United States from Turkish cities remained available from Turkish airlines. On the other hand, no U.S. carriers are flying directly to Turkey.

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