US announces visa restrictions for Kyrgyz citizens

John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Archive photo by user Doug Letterman from

US president Donald Trump has extended the list of countries whose citizens are subject to travel restrictions into the United States, news agency Reuters reports. Six countries, including Kyrgyzstan, have been added to the list. According to CNN, the new regulations will come into force on 22 February.

Under the new restrictions, visas will no longer be awarded to individuals seeking permanent residence in the USA. Study and tourism visas will continue to be issued in accordance with existing regulations.

Alongside Kyrgyzstan, the other countries on the new list are Eritrea, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania. The US State Department said that the countries in question had failed to meet US security and information-sharing standards.

The Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed disappointment at the new measures. The ministry’s press release stated that the introduction of biometric travel documents in Kyrgyzstan had been delayed for legitimate reasons, adding that Kyrgyzstan “is an active participant in the process of ensuring international security and contributes to the fight against terrorism”.

It was earlier reported that the list may include Belorussia. However, according to the State Department, in recent months the country’s government has taken a number of steps to address shortcomings and the decision was therefore made not to include it in the new list.

The original list was composed exclusively of countries with majority Muslim populations. Opponents of the restrictions consider them discriminatory.

While still on the campaign trail back in 2015, Donald Trump had called for a ban on Muslims entering the USA, “until we can figure out what is going on” (this was in reaction to the mass shooting at San Bernardino, one of whose perpetrators was a Pakistani national living legally in the United States). As president, he introduced stringent restrictions on travel to the USA for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A number of regulations were later revised and the list was amended to cover Iran, Libya, Somali, Syria and Yemen, while Venezuela and North Korea were also added.