The geopolitical crisis in Ukraine and the Crimea region between the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea has not prompted certain restrictions on travel, which may affect some Russian and Ukrainian immigrants in the United States. Although the situation in the capital city of Kiev has been largely peaceful, Peace Corps volunteers were ordered to depart in February and the Department of State issued warnings concerning potential armed conflict following reports of a supposed occupation by Russian armed forces.
The U.S. Embassy is offering limited support to citizens who reside outside of Kiev. Travel to the affected regions, which are mostly located in eastern Ukraine, Crimea and the border with Russia has been deemed risky due to growing animosity. The White House has pledged support for the Ukrainian government but has condemned the deployment of Russian troops to the border and their alleged presence in regions of the Ukraine outside of Crimea, which is undergoing a process of political annexation to the Russian Federation.
Reports of growing anti-American sentiment in the regions allegedly occupied by Russian forces have prompted the travel warning, although U.S. citizens and Ukrainians with American ties in Kiev should not feel intimidated. The government of Ukraine has imposed restrictions on the entry of Russian males who are between the ages of 16 and 60. This restriction does not automatically apply to Russian men who have been invited and vetted by relatives living in Ukraine, but Russian men of a fighting age who travel by themselves can expect to be subject to questioning at border checkpoints, airports and seaports.
Ukrainian officials have explained that the measures were enacted due to concerns about Russian spies and intelligence specialists infiltrating the country and supporting the disruptive militias operating in some parts of the country. There have been no reports of any issues affecting those who are leaving the country, but travelers should not be surprised if they are subject to questioning or screening by security officials.
Russian and Ukrainian nationals going through the immigration process in the U.S. and in need of travel to their countries of origin should discuss their options with an immigration law firm before making plans to depart. For a free immigration consultation, please dial 858-874-0711 and speak to one of the experienced lawyers at KS Visa Law today.