GLENDALE, Calif. – Consul General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles Ambassador Armen Baibourtian reported that the Consulate General, located in Glendale but having jurisdictional responsibility over all the western states, remains operational. The State Department along with state and city authorities enabled it to be open as long as all precautionary measures were followed.
In addition to a large number of Armenian citizens permanently residing in California and throughout the entire West Coast, there are also a couple of hundred short-term visitors from Armenia, Baibourtian revealed. In order to find out exactly how many Armenian citizens are now staying provisionally in the western United States, the Consulate General encourages electronic registration. At present, primarily those with problems contact the Consulate General. Many Armenians were able to leave the US to return to Armenia when there were flights from Los Angeles to Yerevan.
Baibourtian explained that his office has prioritized provision of consular services since March 16, when the Consulate General switched to a new mode of operation amidst the pandemic and focused on addressing urgent matters. There are people who need documents to return to Armenia like return certificates. The consular division also processes applications for Armenian citizenship, extension of regular, non-biometric Armenian passports and consular legalization and certification of documents. It issues criminal record certificates and registers citizens via phone calls if they cannot register online.
The Consulate General avoids direct physical interaction with citizens, Baibourtian said. They come to hand over documents, which are taken in, processed and returned. Legalizing documents requires the signature of the applicant however. In addition to the office telephones, communications for urgent matters are maintained through two telephone hotlines operational 24 hours a day, as well as through social media like Facebook and the Consulate’s General official website.
On average, Baibourtian said that more than 50 individuals call the hotlines daily in this period, usually to ask questions or request help. At the present time, citizens of the Republic of Armenia in Southern California in general are unable to return to Armenia, as it is now the third week that no any airline makes connecting flights to Yerevan.