INS lifts restrictions on international passengers

Posted: Sunday, June 17, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has lifted a requirement that Russian nationals have visas if they stop in Anchorage on flights to another country.

Gov. Tony Knowles had asked the State Department and the INS to rescind the April 4 change in U.S. policy toward Russians, Chinese and residents of some other countries. Knowles argued the rule was onerous for passengers who were in the airport for just a few hours between flights.

The INS in May agreed to a moratorium on penalties against airlines carrying residents of China and other countries. On Friday the INS issued an interim rule rescinding the requirement for Russian nationals.

Cathay Pacific and Korean Airlines had said the new regulation could have forced them to move their transit operations from Alaska to Canada. The rule could have cost Anchorage millions of dollars in airport revenue and jobs, according to the governor's office.

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