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Cablegate: Tunis Visa Validation Study

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTU #0835 3200642
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160642Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY TUNIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6982
INFO RUEHPNH/NVC PORTSMOUTH
RUEHC/ALL NEAR EAST COLLECTIVE
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 1682

UNCLAS TUNIS 000835

DEPT FOR CA/FPP
DEPT ALSO PASS TO KCC
CAIRO FOR CROWAN

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFRD CVIS CPAS CMGT ASEC TS
SUBJECT: TUNIS VISA VALIDATION STUDY

Ref: (A) CA FPU Guidance Document 10972

1. Embassy Tunis conducted a validation study covering all
non-diplomatic non-immigrant visas (NIV) for the month of April
2009, excluding K visas. This time period was selected as it was
the first complete month of visa operations after returning Libyan
NIV applicants to Embassy Tripoli.

2. During this period, 246 non-immigrant visas were issued. Of
these visas, 90.6 percent were B1/B2 visas. Other categories issued
during this time included F1 (4 percent), J1 (3.6 percent), J2 (0.4
percent), H4 (0.4 percent), O3 (0.4 percent), and C1/D (0.4
percent). Tunisian applicants comprised 85.7 percent of issued
visas. No other single nationality represented a significant
percentage of issuances. Most third country issuances were to
applicants from African countries, usually linked to African
Development Bank staff and their families.

3. The validation study found that 99.6 percent of visa recipients
were in status. The majority of checks were performed using the
Department of Homeland Security's Arrival and Departure Information
System (ADIS). In cases where arrival and/or departure information
was not available, Embassy Tunis consular staff contacted travelers
to inquire about their status. It was not possible to contact one
applicant, who is reported to be living in a third country; this
applicant represents the 0.4 percent of travelers who were not
verified to be in status.

4. When contacted, 63 applicants who were issued visas (25.6 percent
of total issuances) said that they did not travel. Of these, the
majority cited concerns about H1N1. A number of applicants who are
medical professionals noted that the Tunisian Ministry of Health had
explicitly ordered them to remain in Tunisia during April, as
concerns about H1N1 spread were increasing.

5. Embassy Tunis' overall issuance rate - net of administrative
refusals - was 80.1 percent for the same time period. Embassy Tunis
will continue to ensure that qualified travelers are issued visas in
a timely manner, while guarding against the possibility of fraud.


GRAY

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