A message from the U.S. Department of State

Dear CLS Advisors,

Below please find a message from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs for those who may currently have students or scholars in Russia. If you have any questions, please be in touch with Stephanie Newman, whose contact information is included below.

All my best,

Natalie Spencer
Assistant Manager, Outreach & Selection
Critical Language Scholarship Program

Dear colleagues,

The State Department has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas, including those who are studying abroad, and we are deeply concerned by how Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine will affect U.S. citizens in the region.  We kindly ask your help in passing on the following message to any of students or scholars from your institution currently in Russia:

The State Department issues travel advisories and security alerts to U.S. citizens to inform them of the latest health and security risks in order to make informed decisions regarding travel plans.  On February 28, the State Department reissued our Travel Advisory for Russia, already at a Level 4 – Do Not Travel, to include updated information regarding the security situation and staffing at the U.S. Embassy.

As the Travel Advisory states, we advise U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.  U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available.  

We encourage any American students in Russia to do the following: 

  • Read the State Department’s Travel Advisory for Russia.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive important information from the U.S. Embassy about security and safety conditions and options for leaving Russia.  It will also help the Embassy contact you in an emergency. Once enrolled, you will automatically receive alerts and messages via email when they are issued by the U.S. Embassy.
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Follow the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.

If your institution is interested in a more in-depth briefing on these issues, please contact Stephanie Newman in the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs at NewmanSR@state.gov 

Stephanie Newman - Outreach Unit Chief
Office of Public and Congressional Affairs
Bureau of Consular Affairs - U.S. Dept of State
202-485-6152 (office)
802-558-5792 (teleworking)

The CLS Program is a program of the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, supported in its implementation by American Councils for International Education
Sent by American Councils for International Education
1828 L Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, D.C. 20036