Too soon to speak of canceling visas for Russians, U.S. ambassador
MOSCOW, September 5 - RAPSI. Washington hopes to remove visas for Russians visiting the United States, but it is too soon to speak of any specific terms, the U.S. ambassador said during a diplomatic mission briefing on Tuesday.
A visa agreement under which Russians and Americans can obtain three-year multiple-entry tourist and business visas will come into effect on September 9. So far, only two-year visas have been available.
The visa cost will also be reduced for Russians to $180 - $160 in consulate fees plus $20 to procure the visa. The two-year visa cost was previously $260.
In 2011, Russians conducted 222,000 visits to the United States, or 27 percent more than in 2010. The United States forecast that the figure could grow to 244,000 in 2012 and to 324,000 in 2016.
Business and tourist visas are the most popular visa types for Russians.
In turn, Nonimmigrant Visa Section head Bill Bistransky said 10 percent of applicants are denied, as they do not have family or a job in Russia, or they violated U.S. law during an earlier visit to the country.