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Cablegate: Special Visa Procedures for Official Travelers From

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

UNCLAS AMMAN 004981

SIPDIS

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS AMGT CMGT JO IZ
SUBJECT: Special Visa Procedures for Official Travelers from
Iraq in Jordan

1. (U) Summary: Several recent groups of travelers from Iraq have
arrived at Embassy Amman with requests for visas with little or no
advance notice. Regardless of the circumstances, post will do
everything in its power to facilitate official business involving
Iraqi travelers. However, the lack of advance notice causes
unnecessary disruptions and inconvenience for the travelers and
can impede official travel. This cable summarizes the required
procedures for facilitating travel by USG- or CPA-funded official
travel through Embassy Amman. We are fully committed to
supporting Iraq-related official travel and understand its
importance to U.S. foreign policy goals. To succeed, we need to
have all participants abide by these relatively simple procedures.
End Summary.


2. (U) The US Consul's office in Baghdad and the consular section
in Amman have jointly developed procedures to facilitate the
travel of Iraqis traveling to the U.S. in an official capacity. In th
cases, the Consul in Baghdad sends a completed Non-Immigrant
Visa application and photograph to Amman for data-entry and
security clearance processing. Amman notifies the Consul when
the applicant has been cleared. The applicant arranges for travel to
Amman and schedules to appear at the consular section in Amman
for fingerprinting and interview. Applicants should be in direct
communication with the Consul in Baghdad and the Iraq Support
Unit at Embassy Amman; the Iraq Support Unit in Embassy
Amman will arrange the appointment at the consular section in
Amman.


3. (U) In addition, all USG visitors to Jordan must submit a
country clearance request by cable. This helps ensure that the
Embassy is aware of the visitors and can prepare the necessary
arrangements for their visit, even if the visit is only for transit f
visa issuance. Two recent groups did not follow these procedures:


4. (U) In the first case, a recent group of Ministry of Defense
employees submitted their final visa applications on 31 May, only
three days before the anticipated date of travel. Despite being
directly and repeatedly advised by both the Iraq Support Unit and
the consular section in Amman, this group arrived in Amman
Saturday 5 June. Their clearances from Washington, required for
visa issuance, had not been received by the Embassy. The visitors
were not able to interview for their visas until 10 June when their
clearances began arriving from Washington. During their time in
Amman, they stayed at in a hotel in Amman at USG expense. Post
has also learned that during this period, the group's hotel rooms in
Washington were also being held for them. In the end, the visitors
did not depart until 12, 13, and 14 June, after the clearances had
been received and the visas could be issued.


5. (U) On Thursday 10 June, a group of Iraqi bankers arrived with
no prior communication via the ISU or the Consul in Baghdad.
There were no clearances for nine of the visitors and they were not
issued visas. For those with clearances, consular staff in Amman
worked throughout much of the weekend to process these cases
which could have been handled within the normal workflow, had
the section been advised of their plans in advance. In addition, the
CPA escort had not submitted a country clearance request, a step
which would have alerted post about the upcoming visit of the
group.


6. (U) These are only the two latest examples in which a failure to
follow procedures disrupted Iraqis' official travel. These
procedures are in place to allow the Visa Office in Washington
adequate time to process the security clearances, to allow the
consular section in Amman to manage workload, to ensure that
USG resources are used responsibly, and to facilitate these
important, officially-sponsored trips. In the situations described
above, the Visa Office in Washington stopped working on other
clearances to process these groups, possibly delaying travel for
other Iraqis and Jordanians. Post realizes that urgent
circumstances arise on occasion but following these clearly-stated
procedures will save a considerable amount of USG resources and
enable post to continue to support our efforts in Iraq.

GNEHM

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