P 241530Z JUL 04
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS PRIORITY
SPECIAL EMBASSY PROGRAM PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY KABUL PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD PRIORITY
UNCLAS STATE 161030
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS, CMGT
SUBJECT: KEY VISA PROCESSING INFORMATION ON POST WEBSITES
THIS IS THIRD CABLE OF THREE REGARDING POSTS' WEBSITES.
REF: State 150721
1. This is an action message - see action request in paragraphs 3-9. This message has been cleared by SEP.
APPLICANTS NEED KEY VISA INFO "UP FRONT"
2. In an effort to make the visa application process more transparent and understandable to both the foreign and US public, the Department has decided that certain information on visa appointments and processing should be available on embassy and consulate Websites. The U.S. business community in particular has expressed a strong interest in having access to more accurate information on appointment processing times. Data on the following subjects should be added to post Websites:
-Average length of time to obtain an interview appointment for a visitor (B1/B2) visa.
-Average length of time to obtain an interview appointment for a student (F, M) or exchange visitor (J) visa.
-Average length of time to obtain an interview appointment for all other categories of nonimmigrant visas.
-The process for making a visa appointment in-country via the Internet, telephone, or whatever other procedures (MRV off-site, for example) are used.
-The process for making a visa appointment from the United States (if possible) via the Internet or by telephone.
-The average amount of time it takes to process a visa and return it to the applicant following an interview, and a determination by the consular officer that the visa will be issued.
-Any other processing-related information, including post policies on special instruction regarding student applications and emergency medical and business cases.
3. ACTION REQUEST 1 - POST WORKFLOW STATISTICS IN CCD. Department has already requested posts to supply appointment and processing times for management analysis through the CCD database using the Post Workflow Statistics Data Entry Form under the NIV tab. We have requested CA/EX/CSD to extract from the CCD system a selected portion of the existing Post Workflow Statistics information and to make this available, updated weekly, in a central location on the Internet through the CA Website at travel.state.gov. CSD will convert appointment wait times in CCD entered in calendar days to appear as weeks on the Internet, since it is considered more useful for visa applicants to have a time range for appointment wait times and processing. We plan that Internet users will select a given country or Embassy/Consulate, alphabetically. To support this change, posts are requested to do the following:
a. Review the information currently in Post Workflow Statistics to ensure its accuracy, since it will now be the source data for the Website information. b. Review Average Processing Time entries to ensure it reflects the average amount of time for visas to be returned to applicants at the consular section or by courier, (as applicable), after an adjudication decision to issue the visa. Posts that do not have appointment systems should select the "same day processing" option for the Average Processing Times entry. c. Since there will now be a new "visitor visa" category of information collected in Post Workflow Statistics, posts should now also begin entering the average length of time to obtain and interview appointment for a visitor (B1/B2) visa. This is entered using the same procedure by which other entries are made now in CCD. d. Update Post Workflow Statistics appointment wait times and processing times weekly (on Mondays if possible), except for SEP posts which should provide updates monthly (on the first Monday of the month, if possible), taking care to ensure that the system reflects that the data is current.
4. ACTION REQUEST 2 - POST WEBSITES. We are now directing that posts prepare to make this information available to the public. Therefore, each nonimmigrant visa appointment and processing information item, listed in para 2 and 7 of this message, should be shown in a prominent location on post's visa Web pages, with appropriate links to the CA Web page. The link address to "Embassy Consular Section Visa Appointment Wait Times and Processing Times" central information on travel.state.gov will be provided to posts SEPTEL. The information posts prepare should be readily available on the first visa Web pages, without requiring extensive scrolling, reading, or links to other pages. This will give visa applicants and U.S. businesses the information they need to plan effectively for the travel of their international employees, clients, and associates. It will also help satisfy public demands for greater transparency in the visa process.
REGULAR UPDATES ARE CRITICAL
5. The above information must be accurate in order to be useful, so posts must commit to updating the data on a regular basis, as appointment and processing times change. Posts experiencing a major event that affects visa processing (such as a Presidential visit or a security drawdown) need to mention this up front on their lead visa page, even if it is also addressed elsewhere on their Websites. Many people access post consular Web pages directly from links on the main CA Web pages, without going through post homepages.
ALWAYS INCLUDE A DISCLAIMER
6. CA is well aware that many additional factors, such as the need for special clearances, incomplete applications, and fraud investigations may influence the processing of individual visa cases. We make this point in all of our public outreach efforts, and posts should include a prominently displayed disclaimer noting that the listed processing times are averages, and that the timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case.
A SAMPLE PAGE
7. To achieve the consistency in post Website information that is so important to Web users, we ask that you use the order and format shown below, for information to be provided on page 1 of post Websites. Please note that "Click here," when shown below, will link the user to the "Embassy Consular Section Visa Appointment Wait Times and Processing Times" central information on travel.state.gov. Posts should note that portions of the requested information in para 2 and 7 does not come from CCD Workflow Statistics information (such as how to make an NIV appointment), so posts will need to provide this information directly on posts' Websites, based on their own information and procedures. An example of the above information requested follows for Embassy Z:
(Begin text of example visa information Web page.)
- Average Appointment Wait Time - visitor (B1/B2) visa - Click here:
- Average Appointment Wait Time - student (F, M) or exchange visitor (J) visa - Click here:
- Average Appointment Wait Time - all other nonimmigrant visas - Click here:
- (As applicable) To make a nonimmigrant appointment in- country, please call the consular section at xxx, or the visa information service at xxx, and/or go to the Web at xxx, or click on the following link xxx. Or, an appointment should be made at (name of bank) at the same time the required visa application processing U.S. $100 (MRV) fee is paid. To make an nonimmigrant appointment from within the United States, please call the consular section at xxx, or the visa information service at xxx, and/or on the Web at xxx or click on the following link xxx, or "no appointment is required--visa application hours are xxx."
- Average Visa Processing Time Click here: This means the number of working days after a consular officer decision to issue a visa, for the passport with visa to be returned to applicants at the consular section or by courier, (as applicable).
All applicants should be aware that the times given above are AVERAGES, and that the processing time of a specific case can vary due to individual circumstances and other special requirements.
(End text of example visa information Web page)
8. We ask all posts that do not already display this NIV information in a prominent location on page 1 of their visa Website, to make arrangements to do so as soon as possible, and no later than August 20, 2004, the planned date for start-up of the travel.state.gov link to be provided SEPTEL. NIV information should follow the requested format described in the Sample Page immediately above. Posts are welcome to elaborate on any of the subjects discussed here, provided the basic information is easily accessible. Questions and any concerns posts may have about meeting the August 20 implementation date may be directed to VO/P/I.
9. REFTEL requested that posts make changes to their Websites to provide information on their local procedures that complement the information on the new travel.state.gov, and to remove information that is redundant. Post Websites in foreign languages are considered to be complementary information. However, posts should use care to ensure that Web information in foreign languages is kept up-to-date.
10. Posts' assistance is greatly appreciated.