I promised no sad stories from me about young, abused girls. But I guess this post is one of those in its own way so I will make an exception.
I need to start with a disclaimer. This information is over ten years old. Some information was provided to me in personal conversation with a Senior Consular Officer. And some by Anila, an Albanian friend who won’t otherwise be identified. Here it is – –
Our issue is trafficking. An important aspect of that issue is immigration laws and the processes to get visas. So, this might be interesting. The last I heard the USA is the only significant country in the world that charges when someone applies for a visa as opposed to charging for a visa.
The result is that American consular sections are a unique profit center in American consulates. People pay, sometimes several times, and get nothing in return. I was told that all other countries charge for the visa and not the application. Therefore if you apply, but are turned down, you don’t lose your cash. And I am not talking about third world prices either. American non-immigrant visa applications can cost several hundred dollars with even more fees if you are accepted.
Consular officers explained here – –
There can be many reasons to turn down an applicant for a visa to America, but very frankly one of them can be to take an extra fee from an otherwise good applicant. The consular officer knows who will apply a second time and, so, will pay twice. Hopefully that kind of thinking is rare. But it is very easy for consular officers to just say “no” to any visa applicant for any reason. Consular Officers have great autonomy to make that decision – meaning to say “no” – and the route to dispute that decision without paying again is not likely to get anywhere. Consular officers are usually younger Foreign Service Officers (FSO) on a required assignment to work in a consular section for at least six months, or maybe it is for a year. All FSOs aspire to be an ambassador some day and look down their noses at consular duty. But that’s just my opinion learned from many others who share it.
Finally, Anila’s Story – –
I knew a young woman, Anila, who was accepted to an American university and also had a partial scholarship. She thought that was her ticket to surely get the American visa she needed to go to that school and ultimately immigrate to America too if all went well.
Wrong! She applied five times and paid, as I recall, $220 each time. A huge amount of money in Albania. She couldn’t understand why she was turned down. I had a good laugh (to myself) and I told her she was being a jerk for two reasons. First, she was doing almost nothing to improve her applications. And, second, she is surely being turned down after the first two denials because the American consular officers who make the decision are to busy to second guess their coworkers who already denied her visa more than once. It is safe to say, “Two strikes and you are out.” unless you have some big changes to offer in the application.
Is this process offensive? Maybe maybe not – –
And do you think this kind of visa process might piss off people around the world? I know it does. And these are the people trying to do things legally. Their alternative may be to pay a trafficker to get somewhere! Or, to be realistic, in the case of someone like Anila they can just ask for a proper visa somewhere else. Canada is a good alternative.
That’s what Anila did. She was quite happy to be in Canada. And, by the way, the last I heard, Anila is working on her PhD in some kind of chemistry in Toronto. That was several years ago. I should try to give her a call or email and see how she’s doing now. But I am pretty sure she is no friend of America and America needs friends like Anila. She was a good friend to both my wife and mw at the time I knew her.