Erika Kushtan of Portland

The United States has one of the most convoluted visa application processes in the world. Petitioning for a visa and entrance into the country can take months, and sometimes the application isn’t even approved.           

Portland resident and Oregon constituent Erika Kushtan recognizes firsthand the difficulty of America’s visitor visa application process. Ms. Kushtan’s mother-in-law and brother-in-law are citizens of Ukraine, and the complex legality of the U.S visa system has kept the family apart for years. Despite early visa application rejections, Ms. Kushtan pushed heavily for her family’s visitor visas – hoping her mother-in-law and brother-in-law would be able to meet her two young children. After struggling alone, Ms. Kushtan turned to Senator Merkley for aid. Senator Merkley’s staff was able to petition the Kyiv Embassy for the family’s reunion. In a letter, Merkley’s team advocated that Ms. Kushtan’s family’s applications for visitor visas be given full and fair consideration under the law. Senator Merkley’s staff’s efforts eased some of the application tension and enabled Ms. Kushtan’s mother-in-law to acquire a visitor visa.

Jeff understands the frustration associated with family visits, international travel, and visitor visa applications. He aims to alleviate Oregonian’s stress, both on a personal and political level, to ensure the visitor visas are accessible to those who need them.