A-13924, MAY 1, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 879

A-13924: May 1, 1926

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REFUND OF THE FEES CHARGED FOR THE SERVICE RENDERED IN VISAING THE SECOND PASSPORT IS NOT AUTHORIZED. IS AUTHORIZED TO REFUND THE SUM OF $20 COLLECTED AS FEES FOR VISAS ON TWO PASSPORTS ISSUED BY THE ITALIAN CONSUL. BEFORE THE REQUIRED CERTIFICATE WAS RECEIVED THEIR PASSPORTS. EXPIRED AND AS THE VISAS EXTENDED ONLY THROUGH THE PERIOD THE PASSPORTS WERE EFFECTIVE THEY AUTOMATICALLY BECAME VOID. THE ITALIAN VICE CONSUL AT LOS ANGELES INSTEAD OF EXTENDING OR RENEWING THE OLD PASSPORTS OF THE ALIENS ISSUED NEW ONES WHICH THEREAFTER WERE VISAED BY THE UNITED STATES CONSUL ON JANUARY 4. FEES THEREFOR AMOUNTING TO $20 WERE COLLECTED. THE UNITED STATES CONSUL HAS REQUESTED AUTHORITY TO REFUND THE LAST AMOUNT COLLECTED AND IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THIS AMOUNT SHOULD BE REGARDED AS IMPROPERLY COLLECTED.

A-13924, MAY 1, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 879

FOREIGN SERVICE - VISA FEES WHERE AN AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICER VISAS A SECOND PASSPORT FOR AN ALIEN BECAUSE THE PREVIOUS PASSPORT REGULARLY VISAED HAD EXPIRED BEFORE USE COULD BE MADE OF THE VISA, REFUND OF THE FEES CHARGED FOR THE SERVICE RENDERED IN VISAING THE SECOND PASSPORT IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MAY 1, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1926, SUBMITTING FOR DECISION THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE UNITED STATES CONSUL AT MEXICALI, MEXICO, IS AUTHORIZED TO REFUND THE SUM OF $20 COLLECTED AS FEES FOR VISAS ON TWO PASSPORTS ISSUED BY THE ITALIAN CONSUL, LOS ANGELES, CALIF., UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

MISSES ANTONIA AND FILOMENA PARCIALE, ITALIAN SUBJECTS, APPLIED FOR AND RECEIVED PASSPORT VISAS AS NONIMMIGRANTS AT THE AMERICAN CONSULATE AT MEXICALI B.C., MEXICO, ON OCTOBER 18, 1925, FOR WHICH THEY PAID THE SUM OF $20. THE IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES AT TIA JUANA, CALIF., DECLINED TO ADMIT THEM UNTIL THEY HAD PRESENTED A DOCTOR'S CERTIFICATE REGARDING THE HEALTH OF THEIR BROTHER WHOM THEY EXPECTED TO VISIT IN THE UNITED STATES. BEFORE THE REQUIRED CERTIFICATE WAS RECEIVED THEIR PASSPORTS, ISSUED BY THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT AND VISAED BY THE UNITED STATES CONSUL, EXPIRED AND AS THE VISAS EXTENDED ONLY THROUGH THE PERIOD THE PASSPORTS WERE EFFECTIVE THEY AUTOMATICALLY BECAME VOID.

PARAGRAPHS 1 AND 2, SUBDIVISION F, OF THE RULES OF THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION OF JULY 1, 1925, STIPULATE THAT---

PAR. 1. NO IMMIGRANT, WHETHER A QUOTA IMMIGRANT OR NONQUOTA IMMIGRANT, OF ANY NATIONALITY SHALL BE ADMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES UNLESS SUCH IMMIGRANT SHALL PRESENT TO THE PROPER IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL, AT THE PORT OF ARRIVAL, AN IMMIGRATION VISA DULY ISSUED AND AUTHENTICATED BY AN AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICER:

PAR. 2. NO ALIEN SHALL BE ADMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES AS A NONIMMIGRANT UNLESS SUCH ALIEN SHALL PRESENT TO THE PROPER IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL, AT THE PORT OF ARRIVAL, A PASSPORT OR OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS IN THE NATURE OF PASSPORTS ISSUED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE COUNTRY TO WHICH HE OWES ALLEGIANCE AND DULY VISAED AND AUTHENTICATED BY AN AMERICAN CONSULAR OFFICER: * * *.

THE ITALIAN VICE CONSUL AT LOS ANGELES INSTEAD OF EXTENDING OR RENEWING THE OLD PASSPORTS OF THE ALIENS ISSUED NEW ONES WHICH THEREAFTER WERE VISAED BY THE UNITED STATES CONSUL ON JANUARY 4, 1926, AND FEES THEREFOR AMOUNTING TO $20 WERE COLLECTED. THE UNITED STATES CONSUL HAS REQUESTED AUTHORITY TO REFUND THE LAST AMOUNT COLLECTED AND IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THIS AMOUNT SHOULD BE REGARDED AS IMPROPERLY COLLECTED.

SECTION 2, PARAGRAPH (H) OF THE ACT OF MAY 26, 1924, 43 STAT. 154, PROVIDES THAT:

A FEE OF $9 SHALL BE CHARGED FOR THE ISSUANCE OF EACH IMMIGRATION VISA, WHICH SHALL BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.

AND SECTION 7, PARAGRAPH (H) OF THE SAME ACT PROVIDES THAT A FEE OF $1 SHALL BE CHARGED FOR THE FURNISHING AND VERIFICATION OF THE APPLICATION FOR SUCH VISA, WHICH AMOUNT SHALL ALSO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.

THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FIX THE VALIDITY OF A VISA ON THE PASSPORT OF AN ALIEN AT ONE YEAR, UNLESS AS IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE PASSPORT OF THE ALIEN EXPIRES WITHIN SAID PERIOD; IN WHICH CASE THE VISA EXPIRES WITH THE PASSPORT.

THE QUESTION OF REFUND OF FEES COLLECTED BY CONSULS HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF SEVERAL DECISIONS BY THIS OFFICE AND IT HAS UNIFORMLY BEEN HELD THAT SUCH FEES, INCLUDING THOSE COLLECTED FOR VISAS, MAY BE REFUNDED IF IMPROPERLY COLLECTED AS A RESULT OF THE FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE CONSULATES BUT THAT THE FEES CAN NOT BE REFUNDED WHEN THROUGH ACCIDENT OR THE FAULT, NEGLIGENCE, OR MISFORTUNE OF THE ALIEN THE PASSPORT IS LOST OR NO USE IS MADE OF THE VISA. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 116. HAS ALSO BEEN HELD THAT RESTRICTIVE PROVISIONS OF THE IMMIGRATION LAW CAN AFFORD NO BASIS FOR REFUND OF ANY PART OF THE CHARGE FOR THE VISA OF PASSPORTS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO MAY BE AFFECTED BY SAID PROVISIONS. 3 COMP. GEN. 459; 4 ID. 81. IN THE INSTANT CASE THE NECESSITY FOR THE VISA OF THE SECOND SET OF PASSPORTS WAS DUE TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE PASSPORTS PREVIOUSLY ISSUED BY THE ALIENS' OWN COUNTRY, AND IN SO FAR AS THE RECORD DISCLOSES WAS NOT DUE TO ANY FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES.

YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT REFUND OF ANY PART OF THE FEES COLLECTED IS UNAUTHORIZED.