In my travels around Armenia, I love hearing stories people tell me about their friends and family in America – often in Glendale – or about their plans to visit Florida, New York, or Boston as tourists. I am thrilled when I meet someone who has visited or studied in the United States and is back in Armenia sharing their adventures and the lessons they learned with their fellow countrymen and women. The New Year is a particularly popular time to travel, and our consular section is hard at work adjudicating visas for Armenians who want to head to the United States for the holidays.
I’m happy to report that more and more Armenians are visiting the United States every year. Our Department of Homeland Security recorded 8,654 Armenian visitors in 2015. This jumped up to 13,774 in 2017. Meanwhile, the number of American tourists coming to Armenia is also rapidly growing. These short visits strengthen the bond between our people – something I hold very dear as Ambassador to Armenia. We have a lot of wonderful ways in which our connections can deepen – building families, learning about local culture, deepening educational ties, creating business partnerships.
At the same time, it is very important for a visitor to abide by the terms of his or her visa. Working without authorization, studying while not on a student visa, and most importantly, remaining past the legally authorized time can lead to a lot of headaches and heartaches, including jeopardizing the ability to receive a visitor’s visa in the future. We want Armenians to experience the many wonderful sights and sounds of the United States and to be able to return again and again.
I hope to see travel between the United States and Armenia continue to grow in the coming years, and I call on both U.S. and Armenian visitors to travel safely and responsibly… and have fun as you explore the world!