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Cablegate: Zimbabwe: Changes to Reciprocity Schedule

VZCZCXRO9633
RR RUEHJO
DE RUEHSB #0150 0531259
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221258Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0075
INFO RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 0005
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE

UNCLAS HARARE 000150

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
AF/S FOR B. WALCH
CA/VO/F/P FOR R. HILTON
JOHANNESBURG FOR RCO KENT MAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CVIS CMGT PREL ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE: CHANGES TO RECIPROCITY SCHEDULE

THIS IS AN ACTION CABLE. See paras 2 and 5.

1. (U) Post recommends two changes to the Zimbabwe reciprocity
schedule as outlined below. The intent of the changes is to
streamline visa processing for Zimbabwean government officials not
subject to Presidential Proclamation 7524, which restricts travel
of certain individuals to the U.S., and to simplify the visa
schedule for Zimbabwean crewmembers by creating a combined C-1/D
visa.

2. (U) Recommendation 1. Under Special Clearance and Issues
Procedures, remove the following requirement: "A Visas Bear
telegram must be submitted on all A, C-3, and G (except G-4) visa
applications from citizens of Zimbabwe."

3. (U) This stringent requirement originates from Presidential
Proclamation 7524 of February 22, 2002, which restricts travel of
persons responsible for actions that threaten Zimbabwe's democratic
institutions and transition to a multi-party democracy. Although
the enforcement of this travel restriction has become
institutionalized in the ensuing eight years, the requirement for
submitting SAOs for all A and G applications has transitioned from
a vehicle of enforcement into a significant impediment to visa
issuance for officials whose travel is in the U.S. interest.
Today, every Zimbabwe official on the U.S. Treasury Department's
OFAC list has been entered into CLASS, and Post has entered P212F
hits for all other Zimbabweans who are the subject of adverse
information kept at Post. Of note, the remaining guidance
contained in the "Special Clearances and Issues Procedures" section
still requires an SAO (regardless of visa class) for all applicants
potentially subject to the restriction and for all those with a
CLASS "00" or "212(f)" match.

4. (SBU) The former opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), is now part of government, but under current
procedures we must send SAOs for MDC ministers who wish to travel
to the U.S. This has occasionally resulted in hardship for both
Post and the Department in trying to get approvals when visa
applications were made late; on at least one occasion an MDC
minister was unable to travel to the U.S. The lifting of this SAO
requirement is not meant to signal any decrease in vigilance or
loosening of Department efforts to enforce the travel restriction.
Instead, it is aimed at eliminating approximately 100 unnecessary
SAOs yearly, while allowing the Department to issue timely official
and diplomatic visas to Zimbabweans whose travel is in the U.S.
interest.

5. (U) Recommendation 2. Create a new combined transit and
crewmember visa (C-1/D) with a validity of 36 months. Zimbabwean
crewmembers (cruise ship and airline employees) currently require
separate transit (C-1) and crewmember (D) visas. Crewmembers have
one of our lowest rates of fraud and the current schedule places a
significant burden on these regular travelers by requiring them to
renew their D visa every 24 months. Given the large percentage of
Zimbabweans working in the hospitality industry, we recommend
easing the financial and bureaucratic burden on them by creating a
combined C-1/D visa with a validity period of 36 months.
DHANANI

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