TELEGRAM June 16, 2001
To: ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS - ROUTINE
From: SECSTATE WASHDC (STATE 105803 - ROUTINE)
Subject: RUSSIA REMOVED FROM TWOV INELIGIBLE LIST
Ref: A) FEDERAL REGISTER, JUNE 15, 2001, PUBLIC NOTICE 3697, PAGE 32540-32541; B) STATE 064446
1. Summary: The Department of State and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security jointly published interim rules in the Federal Register on June 15, 2001, which remove Russia from the list of countries that are ineligible to Transit Without Visa (TWOV), see Reftel B.
2. Section 212(d)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act permits the U.S. Secretary of State, acting jointly with the Attorney General, to waive the visa requirement for certain aliens in direct transit through the United States. This waiver allows an alien to transit the United States without a visa provided the alien is traveling on a carrier signatory to an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) and provided the alien bears documentation establishing identity and nationality which would permit the alien''s entry into another country. Onward proof of travel to a destination outside the United States may also be required.
3. On January 5, 2001, the Department of State and USCIS published in the Federal Register a list of countries ineligible for TWOV privileges, which included Russia, (Reftel B). Public comments received after this list was published expressed concern about the commercial impact caused by placing Russia on the TWOV-ineligible list. According to the new interim rule published on June 15, 2001 by the State Department, "the withdrawal of TWOV privileges for Russia would discourage travel by Russian nationals and thus would have a serious negative impact on airline and port-of-entry revenues."
4. The revised list of TWOV-ineligible countries is effective June 15, 2001, the date the interim rules were published in the Federal Register.
5. USCIS has already informed all airlines and international air travel organizations of the change in the list.
6. Minimize considered.