Consular Corner: April 2008
Top Ten Visa Wait Times at US Consular Posts, April 2008The consular unit at Embassy Ecuador has talent: Quito has shaved off a whopping 85 days from its visa wait times since the start of 2008. Elsewhere, wait times at Recife, Brazil soared by 72 days. Interestingly, all of the top ten wait times are attributable to consular posts in the Americas region.
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?mfdip:1:./temp/~ammem_1Wda:: Divine Presence in the Visa Application Process Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether junior officers really are god-like, many visa applicants believe in divine presence in the visa application process: Take, for example, the following applicant: We went early (before 10am) to come ahead of our 1:15 interview at the US Embassy in Manila. We are confident with the scheduled interview since everything we have is TRUTH. Anyhow, the Lord was very gracious to spare us from the possibility of error (due to jitters) during the interview. To our surprise, the embassy officer readily approved our application; He did not even care to see our other documents. I'm pretty sure there's divine intervention right there!
http://pinaydilag.blogspot.com/2008/03/success.html …and this one, too: And the Lord's hand was before us; we found favor in the eyes of the embassy officer. We got our visas!
http://pinaydilag.blogspot.com/2008/03/success.html Some visa applicants in India even believe that offering prayers to Lord Balaji ("the Visa God") at the Chilkur Balaji temple outside of Hyderabad will ensure the success of U.S. visa requests:
http://indiablogs.searchindia.com/2007/12/31/monkey-god-elephant-god-now-india-has-a-visa-god/ The Color Purple Parenthetically, can an applicant's attire actually set the tone for the visa interview, as hinted above by Louis Goelz? Since I was wearing my purple LSU colors as a jacket, the consul (who I learned surprisingly attended LSU and is a tiger herself) asked me the question, "Why did you choose to go to LSU?" Nonetheless our whole 5 minute conversation was about the Tigers and their chances this football season. She did not even bother to look at my supporting documents and granted me a visa.
http://blackshama.blogspot.com/2007/10/day-at-us-embassys-non-immigrant-visa.html Disgust and Disappointment: A Mother Scorned Even "divine" visa officers must take a deep breath when faced with a choice between the inherent rights of motherhood and the statutory requirements of INA 214(b): I didn't know how it felt to be denied a US visa until it happened to me. Disgust and disappointment reeked in every fiber of my being, self pity loomed and for the first time in my life I felt so rejected and dejected. All I wanted was just a US non-immigrant visa for myself and my grandson, so I could proudly witness and bask in the honor of seeing one's daughter march in full regalia during her graduation at the University of Arizona where she took up her Masters degree in Agricultural Economics as a Fulbright Scholar. Upon my query, I was told by the consul that she is not fully convinced of my reason or purpose of going to the US of A. What can I do? I have read that one should not argue with the consul, as they are highly trained for their job, so I nicely thanked her just the same, (so Filipino of me!) despite the turmoil I felt inside of me that time. Oh, how I wanted to challenge her to let me wear a tracking device, just to prove my sincerity. But pride and gnawing pain took the better of me, I meekly rested my case.. No matter how much I try I just can't fathom and understand why wanting to attend one's child graduation is not compelling enough to deserve a US visa. Why??? In April of 2006, I was issued a visitors visa by Japan when all I wanted was, to visit my eldest daughter, who was then an exchange research scholar for only a year. I don't see why the US could not grant the same privilege to a mother like me who has all the right to attend a very important milestone in a child's and a parent's life. Having been widowed early in life, I am proud to say that I alone raised and sent all my three astute daughters thru college. They are all professionals now in their own right, two of them are about to graduate with their Masters degree, (UofA and UP Los Baños) both on full scholarships to boot, while my eldest who has also earned some masters units is now working in Japan as an English teacher. The consul misjudged my intention, despite stating that I am now early retired from government service and started a small business out of my gratuity pay. I think, she surmised I will illegally stay having no stable source of income yet. But for heaven's sake!! I opted to retire early, because I no longer see the need of working my bones off after sending all my children thru school plus the fact that I have to raise and take care of my 7 y/o grandson by my eldest daughter who happens to be a single mom, too. What hurts most was, I was denied outright…without being able to present my daughter's letter proudly informing me that she's dedicating to me her forthcoming graduation and begging us to come, plus the fact that she wanted to set an example to her nephew so he would value the need of a good education. It was one painful, defenseless defeat, I tell you! A law-abiding mother should never, ever be deprived, oh no, not at all, of the privilege of seeing one's child graduate from school, wherever in this world that happens to be.
http://lesuniverseonline.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!1F3E273C5683921!176.entry Of Iraq and Toronto In order to satisfy its growing staffing needs in Iraq, the Department of State is compelled, in essence, to rob Peter to pay Paul: The Department of State employs only about 6,500 active-duty Foreign Service officers, about the size of one military Brigade, and these officers staff all U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide. State does not have a reserve corps or barracks from which to deploy: State employees are forward-deployed. Filling a new FS position in Iraq means a job somewhere else in the world needs either to be vacated or left unfilled.
http://www.afsa.org/fsj/mar07/iraq_prts_1.pdf Leaving other foreign service jobs vacant or unfilled at other consular posts has an immediate, tangible impact on our visa applicant clients. Witness, for example, the situation in Toronto, pursuant to the following update graciously provided by Consular Chief Jeffrey S. Tunis: We expect a severe staffing shortage this coming summer, which will cause us to reduce our already overbooked visa workload. By early July we will be short five consular officers, leaving us with four to cover all citizenship, passport and visa work. We hope to be fully staffed sometime in mid-Fall 2008, but dates are still unclear. Given our severe staffing shortage we will likely suspend our business expedite appointments and further reduce appointments for applicants without a connection to Canada. Applicants who have no permanent residence in, or long term connection to, Canada should seek U.S. visas in their home country. In order to reduce congestion, reinforce the integrity of consular processing and relieve pressure faced by staff members, we plan to limit physical access to the visa waiting area only to:
Kuwait: Walk-in student visa interviewsDiplomatic Frankness William D. Morgan, on the difference in serving as consul general in Paris after Beirut: "The dangers of being blown up are reduced."
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?mfdip:3:./temp/~ammem_DuQ4:: Paperless Processing and Pachyderm Procreation At the dawn of the Information Age, the State Department took the bold technological step of computerizing its consular procedures. Speaking in 1992, Louis P. Goelz recalled the process as follows: Q: As you moved into this computer thing, did you find acceptance, resistance, or were there categories of those consular officers who liked computers, those who didn't, or did you find this? GOELZ: We had all kinds, of course. The younger ones tended to accept them, and to look forward to working with them in the future. Older officers tended to be sort of wary of them. They weren't exactly scared, but they weren't quite sure if you could really trust a machine. Q: I live by the computer but its scary because things can happen. GOELZ: Things can happen but the thing is, that's where its at. This is the way its going to go. This new arrangement that we have which I'm associated with now, the ultimate goal is paperless processing.
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?mfdip:1:./temp/~ammem_1Wda:: Decades later, paperless visa processing is still being put forward as an important goal. Indeed, under the joint vision of Secretaries Rice and Chertoff, a "paperless" visa system is one of the primary tools for ensuring that America maintains secure borders and open doors in the Information Age: A critical obstacle to cooperation across the Federal government is to integrate data created by different agencies for different systems and different purposes. State and DHS are knocking down this technical barrier…..These improvements open the way for "Paperless" Visa Processing.
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/59242.htm Back in the day, Franklin D. Roosevelt observed that dealing with the State Department was akin to "watching an elephant become pregnant--everything's done on a very high level, there's a lot of commotion, and it takes 22 months for anything to happen."
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_/ai_11309702 Is this what he had in mind? All rights reserved to the author.
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