US eases Turkey visa applications in medical and humanitarian emergencies

Published 16.10.2017 18:10

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey announced Monday that visa applications in cases of medical and humanitarian emergencies will be kept outside of the scope of the visa services suspension in representations in Turkey.

The embassy tweeted Monday the guidelines for applicants in these conditions.

The decision came amid reports that the U.S. Department of State is under pressure to make such applications more flexible, a week after a diplomatic crisis erupted between Turkey and the U.S.

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)'s U.S. Representative Yurter Özcan said Monday that the U.S. Department of State informed him that it would provide help in the visa applications of Turkish citizens who want to travel to the U.S. for medical and humanitarian reasons.

The move came after Özcan appealed to representatives in the U.S. Congress and the Department of State to seek help for Turkish patients who have applied to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington Maryland, which is known for its success in rare and difficult cases, for treatment and were accepted prior to the visa suspension decision.

Özcan contacted the U.S. Representative for West Virgina Alex Mooney in the U.S. Congress for help after patients reached out to him.

Mooney then sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanding Turkish patients in critical condition be exempted from the visa-suspension regulation.

Mooney wrote in his letter that he was informed about the high number of Turkish patients who were accepted to be treated in NIH research hospitals, and demanded the U.S. government to make a decision that could pave the way for the entrance of Turkish patients to the U.S. without delay.

Responding positively to Mooney's letter, the U.S. Department of State notified Özcan that it will help, and asked him to provide the patients' information to relevant authorities.

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