Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Tallinn: 1st Quarter 2008
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTL #0060/01 0440818
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 130818Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0489
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHFT/AMCONSUL FRANKFURT 3077
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TALLINN 000060
DEPT FOR CA/FPP; PLEASE PASS TO KCC: POSTS FOR FRAUD PREVENTION
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CMGT KFRD ASEC CVIS CPAS EN
SUBJECT: FRAUD SUMMARY - TALLINN: 1ST QUARTER 2008
REF: A) 07 TALLINN 938 B) 07 TALLINN 759 C)07 STATE 83571
1. COUNTRY CONDITIONS: Estonia's economy grew rapidly in 2007,
approximately 7.3 percent, albeit at a slower pace than expected.
Growth is predicted to fall to 4.3 percent in FY 2008. Acute labor
shortages exist in the country both as a result of declining birth
rates and outward migration of Estonia's labor-pool outsources
itself to other parts of the EU. Unemployment for calendar year
2007 was estimated at 5.2 percent nationally, but varied
considerably from region to region, with higher unemployment notable
in the Russian-speaking, Eastern parts of the country. In most
Estonian families, both husband and wife are employed.
A large ethnic Russian minority (about 29%) resides in Estonia.
Significant divisions between them and the Estonian majority remain,
as evidenced by the disturbances that followed the GoE's decision to
relocate a Soviet-era, World War II Memorial in April 2007 (reftel
A). Public and GOE discussion of integration issues increased
significantly immediately following the riots and the GOE is
planning to launch a new integration strategy in February.
Presently, approximately 115,000 persons in Estonia are considered
stateless and travel on Estonian-issued "alien passports", also
known as gray passports, which accord some travel privileges to EU
and Schengen countries but not the same as those guaranteed to
Estonian passports. The number of stateless persons is decreasing
In 2007, 93 percent of Posts' NIV applicants held Estonian
passports, 2.5 percent stateless alien passports, 3.5 percent
Russian passports, and one percent passports from some other
country. Estonia has issued machine-readable passports since
February 2002, a photo-digitized since May 2005 and an E-passport
with biometric data chip since early 2007. Alien passports are made
to the same standard as the Estonian citizen passports.
The volume of Estonian travel to the United States is low, due
largely to the country's small population, and the relatively small
Estonian-American population in the United States. Moreover, no
direct, commercial flights exist between Estonia and the United
States. A weakening dollar, however, has made travel to the U.S.
more attractive and affordable for Estonians.
Russian and Estonian organized crime groups exist in Estonia and
members sometimes seek U.S. visas.
NB: On December 21, 2007 Estonia acceded to the Schengen area,
abolishing internal controls on all land and sea borders except
those with the Russian Federation. Estonia's airports will
integrate into Schengen on March 30, 2008. Some GoE officials have
suggested that Schengen accession lead to an increase in Estonia's
2. NIV FRAUD: No significant changes from the previous fraud
summary. Post continues to verify suspicious applicant-provided
information using various online resources, including but not
limited to Lexis-Nexis, CCD, and Estonian search mechanisms to
verify personal, financial and business information. While no
significant NIV fraud was detected at Post for October to December
2007, Post confirmed approximately 10 overstays using data from a
2006 upload to CLASS of 7500 L lookouts based on missing I-94 data.
3. IV FRAUD: To date, no fraud has been detected among IV applicants
in Tallinn. Post began full IV and DV processing in May 2007.
4. DV FRAUD: See above regarding IV fraud.
5. ACS AND PASSPORT FRAUD: None detected since previous fraud
6. ADOPTION: No change from previous fraud summary.
7. ASYLUM AND OTHER DHS FRAUD: As reported in (reftel B), Post
recently completed processing of two VISAS-92 cases in which we
noted evidence of fraud in the petitioners own asylum application to
8. COOPERATION WITH HOST GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES: December 2007 was
the one-year anniversary of Post's fully automated reporting of
Estonian lost and stolen passports (reftel C). During this year,
the system generated 85 emails to the CA support desk with
information on 5355 L/S Estonian passports.
On December 7, Consul and AFU-FSN visited Tallinn International
Airport to brief airline and airport personnel on U.S. travel
documents, visa fraud and identity theft.
(SBU): Estonia continues its drive to enter the Visa Waiver Program.
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A series of meetings took place between GoE and DHS officials in
the first quarter of 2008, culminating in December with a signed
HSPD-6 Terrorist Information Sharing Agreement.
9. AREAS OF PARTICULAR CONCERN: Estonia entered Schengen on December
21, 2007 and now maintains open borders except with neighboring
Russia. Airports will follow suit in March 2008. There is concern
that illegal immigration into Estonia may increase as it becomes a
gateway to onward passport-free travel to the rest of the EU. There
is also concern that Third country nationals will try to use
fraudulent Estonian travel documents to enter other Schengen
10. STAFFING AND TRAINING: The Consular Section consists of two
officers, one consular associate and two FSNs. Everyone assists with
fraud prevention work as required. Both officers have completed
PC-541 Fraud Prevention for Consular Managers. The Visa Assistant
has recently completed PC-542 FSN Fraud Prevention.