Nonimmigrant Visa Processing

NSIAD-95-122R: Published: Apr 17, 1995. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of State Inspector General's recent report on nonimmigrant visa processes and procedures at two U.S. embassies. GAO noted that the Inspector General's report reasonably concluded that State improved the nonimmigrant visa process by: (1) installing machine readable visa equipment in overseas posts; (2) creating a program to proactively include the names of suspected terrorists in its lookout system; and (3) participating in a data exchange system with other border control agencies. In addition, GAO noted that the Inspector General's report did not focus on problems existing at embassies that would affect nonimmigrant visa issuance, such as: (1) system, software, and equipment problems that have resulted in delays in visa issuance and weakened visa controls; (2) terrorist lookout committees that meet too infrequently and committee members that are reluctant to share information on individuals who might be ineligible to receive visas; and (3) an insufficient number of embassy officials to process the large number of visa applicants, resulting in some ineligible individuals receiving visas.

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