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2004-12-14 01:07:00
Embassy Djibouti
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 DJIBOUTI 001588 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) A) Please identify the following:
Consular Section Chief name, ETD, direct office telephone
number and e-mail: Andrea K. Lewis, ETD: October 2006
Telephone: (253) 35-39-95 ext: 2203, e-mail:

- Deputy Consular Section Chief name, ETD, direct office
telephone number and e-mail: None.

- Back-up Consular Officer name (if this is a one-officer
consular section), direct office telephone number and e-
mail: Primary Back-up Consular Officer: Tiffany Bartish,
Telephone: (253) 35-39-95 ext: 2220, e-mail:

- Consular Section Fax number (please provide both IVG
numbers and standard phone numbers including country and
city codes). Fax: (253) 35-39-40, IVG telephone: 597-0000
(There is no IVG Fax line.)

B) Do you have sufficient staff to meet consular MPP
objectives? (If you believe you do not, describe steps you
have taken to maximize staff efficiency. Note any special
circumstances at your post that hinder productivity.
Specify the number, type, and grade of personnel you would
need in order to fully meet MPP objectives). Add any
comments you might have on the effectiveness of training of
new personnel (such as Congen, FSI language training, etc.)

- The demands of the Consular section require a full-time
dedicated officer. However, the only assigned officer also
holds a Pol/Mil portfolio, as well as additional reporting

- We have sufficient FSN staff, but our senior FSN is
retiring this year and an FSN-7 replacement will have to be
hired for IVs. The other two staff members are both new, and
need significant training. One of the two left on maternity
leave two months after she was hired (due to complications,
the leave was significantly earlier than expected) and she
has not yet returned. We are doing onsite training, but
training has been unstructured and the knowledge transfer
has been slow.

C) Do you have sufficient space to meet consular MPP
objectives? (If you believe you do not, describe the nature
of the space limitations. Note steps post has taken to
address these limitations, including development of design
proposals, allocation of post funds, requests for OBO or CA
funding, etc.)

- The consular space is insufficient. The waiting room is
designed to have individuals sitting less than two meters
from the only interview window. Compounding this situation,
is the lack of microphones; the net result is that clients
in the waiting room necessarily overhear all conversations
at the interview window.

- The physical layout of the consular workspace is badly
designed, resulting in no direct access or line of sight
from the office to the rest of the section where the FSNs
work, and where the files and the cash register are kept. A
proposal with alternative floorplans has been submitted to
CA for funding consideration under the Consular Improvement

- There is only one window in the consular section to handle
all interviews, cashier transactions, AmCit services, as
well as any routine inquiries.

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.
- No new management practices have been initiated or
discontinued in the past 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

- A CMAT visit would be welcome. All the current FSNs as
well as the Consular Chief of Section have less than six
months consular experience. The five-month gap between the
last Consular Officer and the current Officer was filled by
a succession of WAE TDYers with no overlap. A CMAT team
could assist in pointing out efficiencies in procedures or
processes that might normally have passed on through
institutional knowledge.

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.)

- Current equipment is adequate to meet mission objectives.

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.

- Consular section satisfaction with the automated systems
is good. A significant benefit can be derived from learning
best ways to use it. The Consular Officer was surprised to
receive an email advising that the section was not using the
automated passport system. The Officer was unaware of post's
capability. Training is rated as poor since staff members
present at the time of installation claim they were unaware
of the capability. After figuring out how to use it, its
automated process is immensely appreciated.

- Attempting to run reports or gather data from our
automated systems for the Consular Workload Statistics
System proved to be a frustrating exercise that yielded
unreliable results. We returned to manually adding totals
from a year's worth of receipts to estimate consular

- Djibouti would appreciate an automated systems training
team to show us what systems are available, and how to use
them effectively. A team from Washington came in June, but
given the turnover in personnel we have requested an
additional Orkand training visit, tentatively scheduled for
February 5, 2005.

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.

- Any systems that could reduce or better track paperwork
involved in Visas 92s and 93s would reduce section's
workload tremendously.


I) What aspects of your ACS work are the most demanding?

- Determining legitimate claims to citizenship - this often
has to happen before assistance with other citizen issues
can be rendered.

- Passport applications are not challenging, but are the
most time consuming part of our ACS work.

- American military personnel from the local-based military
camp take "field trips" to the embassy to request routine
ACS activities that could be handled by phone or by mail, or
to inquire about issues not handled by Embassy Djibouti's
Consular section (such as Djiboutian visas).

J) Describe the impact that added responsibilities for
provision of victims assistance as well as reporting
requirements (for example, in death cases and for serious
crimes) have had on your workload.

- The section has had very few cases of victims' assistance.
Those few cases have often focus on determining a valid
claim to U.S. citizenship. Reporting our first death case
became difficult, and continues as an open file six months
after the death. The death was a U.S. citizen military
contractor (not subject to the local SOFA) and the death and
repatriation of remains were handled by the military and
only reported to post after the fact. The case remains open
because the military has not yet released all the details.


K) What aspects of your NIV work are the most demanding?

- Socio-economic status is not necessarily a good indicator
of likelihood of an applicant to return.

- A recent surge in third country nationals from Eastern
Europe employed by the U.S. military contracting firm
Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) has increased our NIV demand.

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.

- Following 9/11, requirements for name clearances from
Washington increased the workload and the waiting time for

M) Please comment on the impact that the fingerprinting
requirement has had on consular space, processing time, and
relations with your host country.
- No discernable impact. A single fingerprint scanner was
installed at the only interview window, and takes up no
significant space. Fingerprinting appears to be accepted as
a matter of course. The only pushback has been from lower-
level government functionaries who remain subject to the
fingerprinting requirement.

N) What aspects of your IV work are the most demanding?
(Discussion should address any backlogs and their causes).

- Visas 92 and 93 are our most time consuming cases. The
majority of these cases are Somali. There is no backlog, but
cases frequently take years to adjudicate due to a severe
lack of documentation, difficulties contacting the
applicants, and the wait for DNA test results. We also have
a high fraud rate, exacerbated by fluid family structure and
differing definitions of family relationships (children are
frequently raised by relatives, and informally "adopted"
children are regularly petitioned as IR-2s or F2s.)

O) If applicable, please describe the impact of the DV
program on your workload.

- Section does not handle DV cases. Djiboutian DV winners
apply to Addis Ababa.

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 half our NIV applicants and 90% of our IV
applicants (including 92s and 93s) are TCNs. The IVs are all
Somali nationals who come to Djibouti because there is no
U.S. mission in Somalia. They speak Somali, which is not a
designated language at post (French) but is spoken by all
consular FSNs, who translate for the Consular officer.

- The NIV cases are more varied, including either local
residents from Indian citizenship or employees for the U.S.
military contracting firm Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR). The
KBR employees mostly come from the former Yugoslavia
(Croatia and Macedonia). They all speak English.


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's first OPDP passport was just processed in November,

2004. The process went very well, and results are
satisfactory. This will likely reduce time spent on
passports and increase AmCit satisfaction by improving the
speed of return. A serious downturn in emergency passports
is not anticipated, as emergency passports have not been
issued in significant numbers.

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

- While Djiboutian documents are usually genuine, fraud is
rampant in Somali and Ethiopian documents. Somali passports
are available for a low cost on the street, so passport
waivers must be obtained for Somali nationals traveling to
the U.S. Statements from two witnesses constitutes fact by
Ethiopian law, so valid government certificates can be
obtained to show any life event (e.g. birth, death,
marriage) and cannot be taken at face value.

- Family fraud is also common: DNA tests are routine to
verify that "spouses" are not in fact siblings, and that
children are biologically related to petitioning parents.

- Djibouti has limited resources for fraud prevention and
fraud detection training. The consular section lacks
personnel dedicated to visa fraud investigations.

- Djiboutian officials guard documents closely. The
Government would likely deal seriously with a sudden
appearance of fraudulent Djiboutian documents. (Not
including refugee cards, but they have little value in the
Consular section.) No attempt is made to curtail fraudulent
Somali or Ethiopian documents.


S) Describe country conditions that affect your ability to
provide consular services (infrastructure, fraud, political
setting, etc.).

- Our refusal rates are lower than neighboring countries.
French visas are easier to obtain than U.S. visas and have
more employment appeal to the local francophone population.
Most unqualified applicants apply to the French consulate
instead of the U.S. Also, a significant number of would-be
applicants "test the water" with a few questions about
eligibility and then choose not to apply for a U.S. NIV.

- The recent installation of the U.S. military camp has
increased Embassy's workload significantly. While the
military forces are covered by a SOFA, AmCit services have
increased in the form of passport applications, voter
services, and even adoption cases. The military camp has
also dramatically increased the workload of non-AmCit
services due to the large number of military contractors
applying for U.S. NIVs.

- Also, some of the contractors are bringing families to
Djibouti. The recent worldwide attention on Djibouti as a
key location in the Global War On Terrorism has increased
U.S. Government personnel, attracted NGOs, and otherwise
gained foreign (including U.S.) attention. According to
Embassy wardens, three years ago only 50 AmCits were
resident in Djibouti. Today there are more than 300 non-
military citizens and more than 3,000 Americans total when
DoD personnel are taken into account.

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.

- Post is in the process of initiating a validation study to
assess NIV return rates.

- The staffing gap in the consular section and rapid
succession of TDYers filling that gap have been noted by
both AmCits and Djiboutian government officials. Multiple
individuals from both groups have expressed relief to learn
that a permanent Consular officer is assigned for the next
two years.

- The Consular Section has only one officer who is also the
Pol/Mil Officer as well as tasked with Somalia reporting,
and refugee reporting. The consular position demands full-
time attention, and should be delegated to a focused full-
time officer.

- The most recent OIG report was conducted during a time
when a new TDYer had just arrived to fill the staffing gap
and was unfamiliar with the needs of the section. The
resulting OIG interview concluded that only 20 hours of
officer time per week was required to manage the Consular
section. Subsequent officers have found this estimate to be
grossly inadequate.

- The senior FSN is retiring at the end of 2004. One other
experienced FSN left earlier this year. The two replacement
hires have less than six months experience combined. We are
evaluating the feasibility of bringing a TDY FSN from
another similar post with experience in visas 92 and 93 for
the purpose of training our FSNs.