Interfax: U.S. consulates general in Russia technically incapable of issuing visas for now – diplomat

Artist's Rendition of U.S. Embassy, Moscow, with the Russian Foreign Ministry in the Background

MOSCOW. Aug 31 (Interfax) – A number of technical problems need to be dealt with before U.S. consulates general in Russia begin to issue visas, head of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section Laurence Tobey told reporters on Thursday.

The capping of diplomatic personnel heavily impacted the capacities of consulates general, which had to reconfigure their activity, Tobey said. He noted that officers had to be trained to perform new duties. The scope of services will gradually expand after technical problems are resolved, he said.

The scope of interviews will grow after problems with personnel numbers are handled, Tobey said.

He also said that Skype interviews would be impossible for technical reasons, such as fingerprinting.

Visa relations between the U.S. and Russia hit rock bottom after the issue of visas had been limited, Tobey said. He said he was still hopeful about an improvement.

U.S. diplomatic missions will do their best to improve services with due regard for the circumstances, Tobey said.