The U.S. Embassy Announces a New Visa Scheduling and Payment System effective February 2, 2014

Riga, January 17, 2014 – Starting February 2, 2014, applicants applying for a U.S. visa at the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia will schedule their interview and receive their U.S. visas, using a new system, which includes a new website, call center, payment options, and courier passport passback. This new process is part of a worldwide change to the visa application procedures under the Global Support Strategy program. The United States is committed to providing all U.S. visa applicants with an efficient, transparent, and standardized visa application process.

All U.S. visa application information will be available to applicants at www.ustraveldocs.com in English, Latvian, and Russian beginning February 2, 2014. Through this website, visa applicants will be able to fill out visa application forms, determine what documents are required, pay required visa application fees, and schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy in Riga. Starting the same day, a new call center will answer visa application questions via telephone, email, or online chat in English, Latvian, and Russian Monday – Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. local time. The website and call center are operated under contract with the U.S. Department of State by Stanley Associates Inc. (CGI Federal).

U.S. visa applicants will have the opportunity to schedule their visa appointments online or by contacting the call center. After the scheduled interview, applicants will receive their passport and new visa at their home or office address at no additional cost. Visa applicants will typically need to make only one visit to the U.S. Embassy on the day of the visa interview.

Latvia will continue to be a member of U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Most qualified Latvian citizens traveling to United States for tourism or business can still travel without a U.S. visa using the ESTA travel system (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/).

All visa applications made before February 2, 2014, even if the visa interview is scheduled after this date, are subject to the current procedure described on the U.S. Embassy Riga website at http://lv.usembassy.gov (see page “Applying for or Renewing U.S. Nonimmigrant Visas”).