Cablegate: Consular Narrative for Mozambique

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 306486

The following are Embassy Maputo's responses to the
questions posed in REFTEL.
A)Consular Section Chief: James H. Potts
ETD: 08/04 (to Pol/Econ section)
Telephone: 258 1 492797, ext 3434
Deputy Section Consular Chief: none
Back-up Consular Officer: Elizabeth E. Jaffee
Consular Section Fax number: 258 1 490448
B) Do you have sufficient staff to meet consular MPP
Yes. The Consular Section currently consists of one Vice
Consul, one Foreign Service National and one part-time
Consular Assistant. Back-up Consular Officers at post and
the Regional Consular Officer in Johannesburg provide
critical advice and backstopping assistance. This is
adequate staffing to meet our objectives.
C) Do you have sufficient space to meet consular MPP
Space is inadequate. We can still meet MPP objectives, but
in a less-than-efficient manner. There is only one window
for all NIV, ACS and cashier functions, causing delays in
processing visas and providing services to American
citizens. In addition, the copy machine, desks, sight lines
and fire escape lanes are less than adequate because there
is no other feasible way to situate them within the confines
of the office space.
In 2002, Post made an OBO request for a second consular
window in recent years. This year, however, we are
discontinuing that request because it does not appear
structurally feasible within the confines of our current
building. We are not currently considering relocation of
the Consular section to another office space. Post is in
the process of locating sites for a new Embassy, in which
the Consular section would be larger than it is at present.
D) Describe any management practices that post has
instituted in the past year. Are these management practices
effective? Also, please list any management practices that
have been discontinued in the past year, citing reasons for
their termination.
Post has continued our basic management practices. NIV
interviews take place by appointment every Tuesday and
Thursday morning. The Consular FSN conducts the screening
process while the Consular Assistant enters data; the Vice
Consul conducts interviews later in the morning. Our
appointment, fee collection, and record keeping systems work
well. We maintain an on-site MRV fee collection system, and
are not planning an off-site move at this time. We do not
use a call center, given our relatively low NIV application
We carry out a full range of American Citizen Services. One
small change in ACS: we are now providing additional
passport pages by mail, waiving personal appearances for
American citizens known to the Embassy. This system has
been adopted since many Amcits in country live far from
Maputo, transportation is expensive, and DHL/Fed Ex services
are increasingly available and safe.
E) Please advise whether and why post might benefit from a
Consular Management Assistance Team (CMAT) visit. If a CMAT
visited you post, please summarize any benefits and what
steps, if any, could be taken to further enhance the
productivity of CMAT visits.
While staff is familiar with basic management practices, a
CMAT visit would help us troubleshoot specific weaknesses,
such as control of older inventory. We could also learn more
about new Department initiatives, such as off-site fee
collection. Such a visit would be particularly helpful in
late 2004 when a new Consular Assistant will be hired to
replace the one leaving June 2004.
F) Do you have the equipment you need to meet consular MPP
Basic consular supplies and equipment at post are sufficient
to meet objectives.
G) How would you rate your consular section's satisfaction
with automated consular systems? How do your rate the
training of post personnel both within the consular section
and in Management/IM on the use and support of consular
systems? What types of assistance would you need from the
next training and refresher teams coming from the consular
systems division to assist consular system users? Please
also comment on the quality of assistance provided by the Ca
Overseas Help Desk.
Consular section is very unsatisfied with the effectiveness
and reliability of our automated consular systems,
particularly the NIV and ACRS applications. We lose several
work hours per person per week due to recurrent equipment
failures. Staff is well versed in the use of consular
systems, although training is always welcome. IM personnel
in the Embassy do their best to assist but are not able to
prevent recurring system crashes and other errors. IM
personnel do not have the comprehensive training required to
debug consular applications.
From November 12-24, 2003, a team from the Orkand Group will
be visiting post, at which time much of our pre-existing
equipment will be reinstalled, along with several new
applications. Hopefully this will rectify many of our
equipment problems. Biometric and photo-digitized passport
equipment will also be installed. During this visit, we
will require biometrics training, and we also ask that both
IM and Consular staff receive system maintenance training.
H) Some posts have recently begun scanning 2-D barcodes to
input DS-156 information into consular systems. Please
comment on post's experience with this program.
We expect to begin scanning 2-D barcodes after the Orkand
Team finishes installing equipment this November. Until
now, post has no experience with the program.
I) What aspects of your ACS work are the most demanding?
The American community in Mozambique is spread throughout
the country in areas where transportation to/from the
capital is poor, and communication is unreliable. Amcits
are often difficult to reach, and we would have a difficult
time responding quickly in case of an actual emergency
outside Southern Mozambique.
Thankfully, 2003 has been relatively free of consular
emergencies. In late 2002, however, there were two
shootings of Americans in Maputo within a three-week period
- one of them fatal. Also, many more petty crimes were
committed against Amcits in Northern and Central Mozambique
during late 2002/early 2003. Crime levels have fallen since
then, but complaints against local immigration officials and
police are still very common. We spend a significant amount
of staff time intervening with relevant officials in order
to ensure that Americans are issued proper visas, permits,
certificates, etc.
In addition, we have a growing number of pending cases of
Americans hoping to adopt Mozambican children, all of them
complicated for various reasons.
J) Please describe any initiatives post has undertaken to
better provide assistance for victims of violent crime and
their impact on your workload.
In 2003, we have not experienced any reported violent crime
against American citizens that resulted in serious physical
injuries or financial destitution. After two Americans were
shot in Maputo in late 2002, the Ambassador hosted town hall
meetings to address the concerns of the American community.
We have since expanded our warden system network and
communication with police in outlying areas of the country,
in order to better reach potential victims in those areas.
DCM, RSO and Consul met with American businesses, schools
and charitable groups to review counter-terrorism awareness.
K) What aspects of your NIV work are most demanding?
Third country nationals - particularly South Asians, Cubans,
and other Africans - make up a significant portion of our
NIV caseload, and are generally much more difficult to
evaluate than Mozambican applicants.
L) Describe the impact that post-9/11 changes in NIV
processing, such as special processing requirements, SEVIS,
etc. have had on your workflow, including the amount of time
it takes to conduct an interview.
Perhaps 25% of our applicants require some form of special
processing. None of these procedures, from SAOs to SEVIS,
slow down the interview process considerably. The SAO
process does hinder workflow, however, since response to SAO
requests is often very slow, usually arriving after the
applicant's original purpose for travel has already past.
This obligates us to re-open each case upon arrival of the
clearance cable, which takes time.
M) Describe the impact that changes in Personal Appearance
Waiver (PAW) rules have had on your NIV operations.
The rule changes have had a limited effect. In practice, we
still request personal appearances for all applicants except
A-1 applicants, most A-2 applicants, and certain G
applicants known to the Embassy. In particular, we have
grown stricter about requiring interviews from many A-2
applicants. This is because nearly anyone vaguely
associated with the Mozambican government or the United
Nations can acquire a valid diplomatic note in Mozambique,
but many of these applicants are not traveling on official
business and should be subject to examination on 214(b)
N) For posts that have already implemented collection of two
index fingerprints for visa applicants, please comment on
your experience thus far with the program.
N/A. Biometric installation will take place in late
November 2003.
O) What aspects of your IV work are the most demanding?
Post does not adjudicate immigrant visas but we do accept
petitions, on average two or three per month. We keep in
close contact with the IV team in Johannesburg in order to
ensure that each case is handled effectively.
P) If applicable, please describe the impact of the DV
program on your workload.
Q) What percentage of your NIV and IV applicants are third
country nationals (TCNs)? From what countries are they? Do
they speak a different language than post's designated
language? If so, how do you communicate with them.
20% of NIV applicants in 2003 are from TNCs, up from 14% in
2002. Significantly, 27% of all B1/B2 applicants are from
TNCs. The largest numbers of applicants come from India,
Pakistan, South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, and Cuba. Several
other African countries are also represented, including DR
Congo, Angola, Cape Verde, and Guinea. All applicants
except those from Cuba and francophone Africa have a
respectable command of English. The Cuban applicants
generally speak Portuguese, and, in any case, the Vice
Consul also speaks fluent Spanish. In a couple of cases
this year, we had applicants from Congo/Guinea with
insufficient Portuguese or English. In these cases, back-up
Consular Officer Elizabeth Jaffee, who speaks French,
conducts the interview.
R) What percentage of your NIV and IV applicants require
special namecheck processing?
Approximately 6% of applicants would require special
processing, almost all of whom hail from Pakistan or Cuba.
However, the majority of these applicants do not meet the
214(b) threshold, so no additional processing is requested
in these cases.
S) If applicable, discuss how your post has been affected,
or expects to be affected, by the new passport application
procedures required under the Overseas Photo-digitized
passports program (OPDP), which began worldwide deployment
in September 2003.
This application will be installed in late November 2003.
We expect the new technology to help us reduce the timeframe
from date of application to receipt of passport by up to 5
days. (Current time frame is 11-20 days.) We also
anticipate that the new system will result in a slight
reduction in workload for our FSN and Consular Assistant.
T) Describe the general level and kind of fraud encountered
at post in ACS, NIV, IV/DV or other work and activities to
combat the fraud, including use of investigation resources,
tracking systems, electronic tools, liaison and information
sharing. Has post conducted a validation study? If so,
what was learned from the study? What is the staffing of
your fraud prevention unit and who manages the unit? Are
you satisfied with the level of fraud prevention training
for officers and FSNs? If not, what do you believe you need
to support your efforts in this area?
NIV fraud is not a grave problem at post; visa fraud in
Mozambique tends to be targeted at entering South Africa
rather than the United States. We have seen some recent
indications of attempted NIV fraud among the Pakistani and
Indian communities, however. On a related note, we see many
third-country national NIV applicants who have entered
Mozambique on visas that appear fraudulent. (The Mozambican
consulate in Karachi has been recently charged with selling
visas to Mozambique, reinforcing our suspicions.) We do not
see a high incidence of fraudulent birth certificates,
marriage certificates, etc. The false documents that we do
see tend to be so poorly made that they do not indicate any
organized fraud attempt.
Consular section investigates fraud by maintaining relations
with government officials, journalists, and consular
officials from other embassies. Also, the Consular
Assistant conducts a validation study in which he makes
phone calls each month to approved NIV applicants who we
deem medium-low risk 214(b) cases, upon their scheduled
return to Mozambique. From this system, we have been able
to better identify NIV fraud patterns with regard to
particular countries and organizations.
We are generally satisfied with our level of fraud
prevention training. We could, however, use additional
assistance with regard to investigation resources and
tracking systems.
U) Describe country conditions that affect your ability to
provide consular services (infrastructure, fraud, political
setting, etc.).
The size of the country and the lack of adequate
infrastructure (communications and roads) outside of the
capital are challenges to providing emergency and non-
emergency services to American citizens. The Consular
Section is frequently asked to intervene with local
government agencies to help Americans obtain necessary
documentation (e.g., residency permits, drivers licenses).
The police force is poorly paid and equipped, and complaints
against corrupt police, immigration, and customs officials
are particularly common among Americans in Northern and
Central Mozambique.
V) Describe any other issue not raised in the preceding
questions that you believe to be significant to the consular
section's effectiveness in handling its responsibilities.

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