The U.S. State Department has authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees and ordered the departure of family members from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. The move came amid rising tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Key Points:

  • The embassy said most consular services continue and that officials are prepared to meet an immediate uptick in demand for consular services in Ukraine; however, the embassy said it “currently has a reduced capacity to process nonimmigrant visas due to COVID-19 restrictions.” In recent months, the embassy has prioritized the processing of U.S. passports and immigrant visas, including adoption cases.
  • Officials will continue to prioritize support for U.S. citizens in emergency situations, the embassy said.
  • The State Department reissued a “do not travel” warning for Ukraine. The warning had already been in place because of COVID-19, but the State Department also said that Americans should “exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest.”
  • The State Department asked U.S. citizens in Ukraine to complete an online form to make it easier for U.S. officials to communicate with them directly.

BAL Analysis: While the embassy said it would be able to meet an uptick in demand, consular services had already been limited because of COVID-19. Delays should be expected for services that are available. The situation in Ukraine may change with little or no notice and companies with employees in the country are encouraged to follow State Department information and warnings closely.

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

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