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Effective January 1, 2015, the United States will begin issuing visas in accordance with a new reciprocal arrangement with the Republic of Armenia.
Armenian applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa (NIV) may be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel to the U.S.
Qualified Armenian students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas will be eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years. Also effective January 1, 2015, U.S. citizens will be able to travel to Armenia visa-free and stay in Armenia for up to 180 days per calendar year.
The implementation of a liberalized visa regime promoting people to people contacts was one of the goals identified in last year’s bilateral meeting of the U.S.– Armenia Task Force (USATF) in Washington D.C. The USATF is an annual bilateral meeting that provides a forum to discuss trade and investment issues, advance financial and market reforms in Armenia, and identify opportunities for the U.S. and Armenia to work together to foster long-term economic development.
As a result of these agreements, businesses in both countries, including the tourism industry, benefit from increased travel, investment, and business development opportunities between the two countries.
Longer visa validity will allow students and exchange visitors to more easily return to their home countries during school and work holidays.
PS: It is worth noting that Armenia expects to become a full member of the Russia-led Eurasian Union on January 1, 2015. So in effect, the US citizens will be able to travel to the Eurasian Union area visa free. The US ambassador John Heffern noted at the press conference today that the date was picked by the Armenian authorities. Is it a simple coincidence, or are the Armenian authorities trying more of their ‘complementary’ foreign politics?