US Embassy beefs up visa service despite criticism from Türkiye

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The US Embassy in the capital, Ankara, gave a tour of its new building and pledged to expedite the slow visa process for Turkish citizens.

The building in Çukurambar district of Ankara was opened for visa applications on Thursday. Jayne Howell, US consul general in Ankara, told reporters they had increased visa processing capacity, acknowledging the year-long wait process for applications was “not good “. “We’re working hard to reduce wait times,” Howell said.

The consular section of the new embassy building is now more spacious and comfortable, Howell said.

Howell pointed to the backlog of applications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted public services everywhere. She said they had significantly increased processing capacity for interview-free visa renewals and people whose visas had expired in the past four years could apply for renewals by mail and get appointments online.

She said visa delays were not limited to Turkey and were a “global problem”, citing lockdowns and quarantines in many countries and travel restrictions, as well as shortages resources at numerous U.S. embassies around the world.

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