State Department suspends services in Belarus, authorizes voluntary departure in Russia

28 Feb 22

UNITED STATES

The U.S. State Department has suspended operations at the U.S. Embassy in Minsk and authorized the voluntary departure of nonemergency employees and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The Department has urged American to leave both countries.

Key Points:

  • As of Feb. 28, the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, is no longer offering routine or emergency consular services. The State Department has suspended such services until further notice.
    • The State Department is advising U.S. citizens in Belarus to leave the country immediately via commercial or private means and contact a U.S. embassy in another country if consular services are needed.
    • U.S. citizens in Belarus who are in need of assistance can call the State Department at 1-606-260-4379 or email MinskConsular@state.gov from outside the U.S. or call 1-833-741-2777 from inside the U.S.
  • As of Feb. 28, the State Department has authorized the voluntary departure of eligible family members and nonemergency personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
    • The State Department is encouraging U.S. citizens to depart Russia immediately via available commercial options.
    • U.S. citizens in Russia who are in need of assistance should consult the Embassy’s website.
    • The U.S. Embassy in Moscow continues to have a “severely limited” ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia at this time.

Additional Information: The State Department reissued “do not travel” warnings for Belarus and Russia. The warnings had already been in place due to COVID-19, but the State Department has expanded such warnings due to the Russian military buildup in Belarus and the invasion of Ukraine, among other reasons.

As of Feb. 28, the State Department has not designated another U.S. Embassy for processing immigrant visa applications for those living in Belarus. The State Department previously designated the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to process immigrant visa applications for those living in Russia. Generally, nonimmigrant (temporary) visa applicants from both countries can apply at any U.S. embassy or consulate where they are physically present and can obtain an appointment. The State Department’s announcement is available here.

BAL Analysis: Companies with employees in the country are encouraged to follow State Department information and warnings closely. BAL will continue to monitor developments regarding the invasion of Ukraine and will provide more information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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