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 227856

The following are Embassy Maputo's responses to the
questions posed in REFTEL.

A) Please identify the following:
- Consular Section Chief name, ETD, direct office
telephone number and e-mail.
Leyla L. Ones, September 2006 (rotation to
Political/Economic section), (258) 1 492797 ext. 3434,
- Deputy Consular Section Chief name, ETD, direct office
telephone number and e-mail.
Not applicable.
- Back-up Consular Officer name (if this is a one-officer
consular section), direct office telephone number and e-
James Potts, (258) 1 492797 ext. 3423,
- Consular Section Fax number (please provide both IVG
numbers and standard phone numbers including country and
city codes).
Tel: 258 (1) 492797, Fax: (258) 1 490448; IVG line 8 887

B) Do you have sufficient staff to meet consular MPP
Yes. The consular section comprises one American Foreign
Service Officer, and two Foreign Service nationals. The
current staffing pattern is adequate to meet MPP objectives.

C) Do you have sufficient space to meet consular MPP
While space is inadequate and work efficiency suffers as a
result, Post can still meet MPP objectives. The 3-member
consular staff currently occupies a space - consisting of
two small rooms and a cubbyhole - of less than 35 square
meters. This space accommodates furniture, consular
equipment for all NIV, ACS, and cashier functions, large
safes for storage of controlled items, A-Z files, ACS vault,
general storage of consular handouts/brochures, tax guides,
voting materials, office supplies, and all NIV, ACS, and IV
case archives.
Insufficient space allows for only one public-service window
for all NIV, ACS and cashier functions, resulting in delays
in visa processing and the provision of other consular
services. Because cash payments, NIV intake and
interviewing/fingerprinting must be done at the same window,
it is not unusual for ten visa applicants to wait for up to
three or four hours to be interviewed. Additionally, as
American Citizen Services are provided during all hours of
Embassy operation, should a U.S. citizen request assistance
during visa hours, the use of the single window for ACS
effectively halts all NIV processing. This leads to further
delays, hampering efficiency, interrupting workflow and
compromising customer service. Having only one consular
window also forces the consular chief of section to leave
her office to deal with the public in the foyer of the
Embassy (which also serves as the NIV waiting room). In
sum, the efficiency, quality and accuracy of consular work
is undermined by these space and design limitations. impact
on improving workflow.
Post addressed the issue of inadequate space and poor design
in Maputo 1493, a cable sent in response to CA's Consular
Improvement Initiative. In this same cable, Post requested
funds and OBO assistance in redesigning and possibly
expanding the consular section.

D) Describe any management practices (such as off-site fee
collection, use of a user pays call center, courier
passback, post hosted web appointment system, business
programs) 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.
Given the relatively low volume of consular cases at Post,
the consular section does not have off-site fee collection,
a call center, courier passback, a web-based appointment
system, or any special business programs. However, the
consular section strives continually to develop better
management systems within the limitations of our resources
and physical space. The recent installation of a teller
window intercom/paging system - in October 2004 -- has
improved workflow and efficiency, as consular staff no
longer has to physically leave the section in order to call
the next NIV applicant waiting in the Embassy foyer. While
it is difficult to be efficient with only one teller window
available to serve the public, fee collection is handled as
promptly and capably as possible, with one FSN working as
the cashier, and the other in data-entry. Currently,
prospective NIV applicants must call the consular section
directly to make appointments, which often results in the
chief of section interrupting work to respond to these
routine phone calls if the FSNs are otherwise occupied. To
enhance section productivity, Post is now exploring the
option of setting up a dedicated automated NIV appointment
telephone line with voicemail. Additionally, through
information and links posted on the Embassy's website, and a
telephone outreach campaign to local business and government
contacts, Post is encouraging use of the electronic visa
application form (EVAF) to help speed up data entry time for
NIV processing. While the consular section has seen only a
handful of EVAFs to date, we hope to see an increase in its
use during the next fiscal year.

E) Please advise whether and why post might benefit from a
Consular Management Assistance Team (CMAT) visit. (By
year's end, CMAT's will have visited since their inception
nearly 60 posts. If a CMAT visited your post over the past
year, please summarize any benefits and what steps, if any,
could be taken to further enhance the productivity
of CMAT visits.)
While there is no doubt that Post would currently benefit
from a CMAT visit to evaluate new ways to boost efficiency
and offer innovations on existing management techniques, a
future CMAT visit may be more appropriate if timed to
correspond with the completion of a possible consular
section expansion/construction project - currently proposed
but not approved. Future CMAT feedback on improving
consular operations in a newly designed workspace would be
very useful.

F) Do you have the equipment you need to meet consular MPP
objectives? (If you believe you do not, describe the
equipment you need and efforts you have made to obtain it.)
A 3-member Harris Orkand team recently completed a 10-day
visit to Post in which new computer hardware (computer and
CRBA/NIV printers) and system upgrades were installed.
Technical problems that had long plagued the consular
section were successfully addressed. Consular systems are
now operating more smoothly, particularly since the Parser
was moved into the consular section and can be easily reset
by the chief of section without having to call upon the
services of IPC/IMS.
Emergency passport equipment is inadequate, however, and
Post has written the department requesting a new passport
lamination machine. Post currently relies on the old glue-
pot and daisy wheel method of emergency passport production
for the older Z-series passports. This type of passport does
not meet currently security standards, and should no longer
be produced given the current elevated U.S. threat level.

G) How would you rate your consular section's satisfaction
with automated consular systems (excellent, good, average,
poor)? Are there any unresolved software or hardware issues?
How do you rate the training of post personnel both within
the consular section and in Management/IM on the use and
support of Consular systems (excellent, good, average,
poor)? 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.
As mentioned above, Post recently benefited from an Orkand
visit during which hardware was replaced and upgraded, and
new versions of consular software were installed. The
consular chief, FSNs, back-up consular officer, and
alternate "emergency" consular officer (with a commission
from her last assignment) received thorough training
sessions on upgraded consular applications. Overall, Post's
satisfaction with automated consular systems can be
characterized as good. Post continues to experience mild
problems with CLASS namechecks "freezing" or showing
"errors," but consultations with IT people show that this is
related to Post's server and not linked to faulty consular
equipment or systems.
Post would like to see more user-friendly and accurate
applications of the Ad Hoc Reporting Tables. When the
consular section chief recently generated an F-77 report
using Ad Hoc, the information reflected in the report was
glaringly incorrect. Post sent an inquiry to the CA Support
Desk and was informed that many reports used in Ad Hoc are
often inaccurate and therefore should not be used. There
also don't seem to be any dependable training manuals for Ad
Hoc, and the general approach recommended by CA systems
personnel is experimentation and "tinkering around" with the
program to see what it can (and cannot) do.
Post is highly satisfied with the timely responses and
quality of the work and effort put forward by the CA
Overseas Help Desk. No matter what time of the day the
consular section calls upon the Help Desk's expertise, the
assistance received is invariably professional and time-
sensitive. The Help Desk also does a good job in following
up on written inquiries, often writing back to make sure the
problem was solved, or that the advice dispensed was on-

H) Some posts have recently begun scanning 2-D barcodes to
input DS-156 information into consular systems. Please
comment on other forms you would like to see automated and
explain why.
Post has no specific recommendations regarding automation of
other consular forms.

I) What aspects of your ACS work are the most demanding?
It is a challenge to keep the warden system current and
accurate, and even more challenging to make sure the Embassy
is reaching out effectively to the more than 600 American
citizens dispersed widely in a country twice the size of
California. Post relies primarily on e-mail to distribute
Warden messages, as many U.S. citizens do not have cell
phones or even landline telephones. Having only one
dedicated consular officer makes it difficult to conduct the
kind of hands-on outreach that would be ideal for American
citizens. Ideally, the consular chief would be able to
travel upcountry at least three times a year to meet with
Embassy wardens and to conduct town hall meetings on issues
of concern to American citizens. This type of physical
outreach would have been particularly useful in the months
preceding the U.S. presidential and general election in
November 2004 in order to increase the number of people
using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot.

J) Describe the impact that added responsibilities for
provision of victim's assistance as well as reporting
requirements (for example, in death cases and for serious
crimes) have had on your workload.
Regarding victim's assistance, additional responsibilities
for service and reporting have not had significant impact on
Post's consular workload. However, the provision of
emergency services to American citizens - such as welfare
and whereabouts cases, assistance in criminal cases, traffic
accidents, etc. - is difficult in a country where there is
an absence of standardized regulations and inconsistent
application of existing laws. Rendering assistance to
American citizens will become a more critical issue, as
incidences of crimes against foreigners appear to be rising.

K) What aspects of your NIV work are the most demanding?
The high prevalence of third-country national (TCN)
applicants makes NIV processing more protracted, both in
terms of intake and interviewing. Frequently, security
advisory opinions are required for TCNs, which further
extends the time required to process individual cases. Many
applicants do not know how to fill out the DS-156 or DS-157
forms and this hampers workflow on NIV days as FSNs often
spend a great deal of time providing assistance - sometimes
question by question.

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.
Third country national interviews warrant intense scrutiny
and therefore take longer, even if applicants purport to be
long-time residents of Mozambique. As Mozambican passports
and residency permits can be obtained through illegal
channels, extensive interviews must be conducted to
ascertain the bona fides of TCNs. Regarding SEVIS, very few
students seem to know about the new fee, and are asked to
reschedule their interviews after payment. The consular
chief is working with the Public Affairs office on outreach
programs to inform prospective students of NIV requirements.

M) Please comment on the impact that the fingerprinting
requirement has had on consular space, processing time, and
relations with your host country.
The introduction of the fingerprinting requirement has been,
on balance, well received by the host country. Applicants
have adapted quickly to fingerprinting and it has not had
significant impact on NIV processing.

N) What aspects of your IV work are the most demanding?
(Discussion should address any backlogs and their causes).
While Post does not process IV cases, the consular chief
spends a significant amount of time explaining the IV
process to prospective applicants, providing forms, and
responding to general and specific inquiries covering a
broad spectrum of IV areas (from adoption to family-based
petitions.) Post forwards the I-130 forms, supporting
documents, and case notes from preliminary interviews to
Consulate General Johannesburg for processing and
adjudication. This system sometimes presents a challenge as,
in case of delays, confusion, or unreceived documents,
applicants will often hold Post responsible and direct their
frustration toward Post consular staff. As a result, Post
has requested that Johannesburg send to Maputo duplicate
copies of all packet 3's dispatched to Mozambique-based

O) If applicable, please describe the impact of the DV
program on your workload.
Not applicable.

P) 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?
Approximately 22% of NIV applicants are TCNs. The countries
representing the largest number of applicants, beginning
with the most prevalent, are Nigeria, South Africa, Guinea,
Pakistan, India, Brazil, Congo, and Tanzania. Post has also
processed applications for nationals of China, Cuba, and
Lebanon. As consular staff has a combined knowledge of six
languages, communication with TCNs is generally not a

Q) Discuss how your post has been affected by the Overseas
Photodigitized Passports program (OPDP) deployed in 2003.
Please note any major adjustments you have had to make to
workflow or staffing. Has the number of emergency passports
issued at post decreased? If so, by how much?
Post has received high praise from American citizens on the
new Overseas Photodigitized Passports program. The speedy
turnaround appears to have had a significant impact on the
issuance of emergency passports at post. Given that most
American citizen applicants are residents of Mozambique and
not tourists, virtually all applicants can wait 7-to-10 days
to receive their new passport from the United States and,
thus, do not need temporary emergency passports. The new
procedures have had no significant impact on Post's workload
and staffing.

Fraud Prevention:
R) Briefly summarize the types of fraud most frequently
encountered at post and programs in place to combat that
fraud, including use of investigation resources, tracking
systems, electronic tools, liaison and information sharing.
If post has conducted a validation study, what was learned
from it? 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?
Do you conduct in-house fraud training? If so, who is the
targeted audience and how often is it done? Do you conduct
fraud training for non-Embassy consular contacts? If so,
who is the targeted audience and how often is it done? Do
local authorities effectively prosecute document vendors and
Imposter fraud is the most frequently encountered type of
fraud at Post. Mozambican nationality and identity
documents (as well as residency permits) are easily obtained
on either the black market, or by bribing immigration
officials. Consequently, TCNs posing as Mozambicans - or
long-time residents of Mozambique - are able to apply for
nonimmigrant visas with genuine Mozambican passports or
residency permits. A thorough NIV interview must be
conducted with all applicants to assess Portuguese language
ability, knowledge of the country, professional and
educational background, and economic ties. Document fraud
is less prevalent but more difficult to detect as official
documents often lack uniformity and/or security features,
and even legitimate documents are often of poor quality -
printed with dot matrix printers or handwritten.
Post is expanding anti-fraud efforts by strengthening ties
with key local contacts in immigration and other areas, and
is in the process of putting together Post's first
Mozambique anti-fraud guide as a key element of the new
officer training handbook, another new endeavor currently
being undertaken.

S) Describe country conditions that affect your ability to
provide consular services (infrastructure, fraud, political
setting, etc.).
Mozambique's vast territory and absence of adequate
infrastructure, both in terms of transportation and
communication networks, present challenges to providing
emergency and non-emergency services to American citizens.
Legitimate Mozambican identity and nationality documents, as
well as residency permits, can be obtained through bribes
offered to local officials, adding another dimension of
difficulty in NIV adjudication. Mozambique's borders are
porous and poorly monitored due to an underpaid and ill-
equipped police force, and it is difficult to obtain illegal
immigration information from local officials since
statistics are rarely tracked and cases seldom investigated.

T) 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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