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IM .A C C I i : l r n
UNCLASSIFIED INUOMINIT
TELEGRAM
ACTION Department of State ^fti
DH 02326 00 OF 03
PAGE 01 OF 02 RIYADH 1913S4Z. SHC1S33/1 • RIYADH 02326 00 OF §3 191354Z (*3.
ACTION CFPP-01 MANDATORY FOR AL1 APPLICANTS IN SAUDI ARABIA. A CONSULAR
OFFICER REVIEVS ALL APPLICATIONS. 1NE PASSPORTS OF -THOSE
INFO LOG-00 -00 NP-00 AMAD-00 CA-01 CIAE-00 INL-00 APPLICANTS VHOSE SUBMISSIONS DO NOT DEMONSTRATE CLEAR VISA
DS-00 -00 OIGO-00 FBIE-00 . UTED-00 F60-00 TEDE-00 ELIGIBILITY ARE RETURNED TO THE AGENCIES WITH A FORM LETTER
L-00 -00 DCP-01 NSAE-00 CAEX-01 PPT-01 IRM-00 INDICATING THAT THE APPLICANT MUST COME TO THE EMBASSY OR
E-00
JEST-00 USIE- VO-03 ASDS-01 DSCC-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 CONSULATE GENERAL FOR INTERVIEW ANY YORK DAY FROM 8:00 TO
/009W 10:00 AM AND/OR WHAT ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTATION SHOULD BE
nn )t IQIW; 7 na SUBMITTED. THESE APPLICATIONS ARE ADJUDICATED IN THE NIV
R 191345Z AUG 01 APPLICATION AS PENDING UNA SECTION 2210). APPLICANTS WHO
FM AHEMBASSY RIYADH . COME FOR INTERVIEW NAVE ALREADY PAID THE MRV APPLICATION FEE
TO SECSTATE VASHDC 5676 AND HAVE PROVEN TO BE MANAGEABLE IN NUMBERS. AFTER AN
AMCONSUL JEDGAH INITIAL TRIAL OF HAVING THE TCNS PAY THE EXTRA ISSUANCE FEES
DIR FSINFATC VASHDC TO THE TRAVEL COMPANIES. EMBASSY RIYADH DISCONTINUED THE
INFO GCC COLLECTIVE COLLECTION OF ISSUANCE FEES FROM THE AGENCIES FOR RESIDENT
TCN APPLICANTS ON SUBMISSION OF THEIR APPLICATIONS TO THE
UNCLAS RIYADH 002326 POST. INSTEAD, THE AGENCIES PAY THE ISSUANCE FEES AT THE
TIME OF PASSPORT COLLECTION FOR RESIDENT TCN APPLICANTS
DEPT FOR CA/EX. CA/VO, CA/FPP, NEA/EX. NEA/ARP ISSUED WITHOUT INTERVIEW. RESIDENT TCN APPLICANTS ISSUED
NFATC FOR h/FSI/SPS/CONS AFTER INTERVIEW PAY ON THEIR OWN.
E.O. 129i8: N/A STEPS IN SETTING UP THE PROGRAM
TAGS: CMGT, CVIS, KFRD, AFSI. ASEC/ SA
SUBJECT: U.S. VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM TRANSFORMS NIV SCENE IN
SAUDI ARABIA
4. (U) SETTING UP THE NEV NIV SERVICE IN A COUNTRY THE SIZE
1. (U) SUMMARY. EMBASSY RIYADH' IN COORDINATION VITH OF SAUDI ARABIA, WHERE 30,966 NIV APPLICATIONS WERE
CONSULATES GENERAL IN JEDDAH AND DHAHRAN* DAS LAUNCHED A PROCESSED IN FY-2000, AND USING TEN TRAVEL AGENCIES .
NEW. MANDATORY SERVICE FOR PROCESSING NONIMMIGRANT VISAS. COMPANIES' WAS A LARGE-SCALE OPERATION. IT REQUIRED THAT
NAMING THE NEW PROGRAM "U.S. VISA EXPRESS", EMBASSY RIYADH ONE CONOFF ACT AS PROJECT'S DIRECTOR AND COORDINATE THE
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PROGRAM IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION VI.TN

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ESTABLISHED THE SERVICE TO ELIMINATE THE LONG LINES OF NIV ALL THE OTHER CONOFFS IN-COUNTRY. IN ADDITION. THE PROJECT
APPLICANTS AT THE EMBASSY AND CONSULATE GENERAL IN JEDDAH MANAGER HAD TO KEEP THE EMBASSY FRONT OFFICE. THE CONSULS
AND TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF PUBLIC VISITORS ENTERING THE GENERAL, OTHER AGENCIES' AND SECTION CHIEFS INFORMED OF OUR
POSTS. THE PROGRAM DRAVS ON CA BEST PRACTICES - TRAVEL PLAN AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION SCHEDULE. FROM THE INITIAL
AGENCIES AS NIV RECEPTION AGENTS/ REMOTE DATA ENTRY. AND STAGE' WHEN CONOFF BEGAN MEETING WITH VARIOUS COMPANIES TO
INTERVIEW BY EXCEPTION. AS A RESULT, THE WORKLOAD ON THE EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITIES AND CONFERRING VITH THE DEPARTMENT
CONSULAR SECTIONS' STAFF HAS. BEEN REDUCED AND MADE TO LEARN WHAT LEGAL OPTIONS WERE AVAILABLE UNTIL LAUNCH
MANAGEABLE, CUSTOMER SERVICE TO NIV APPLICANTS HAS IMPROVED- DATE) ESTABLISHING THE PROGRAM TOOK PLACE OVER A PERIOD OF
AND GENERAL POST SECURITY HAS IMPROVED. THE PROGRAM HAS SEVEN MONTHS. HAVING GONE THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS AND
TRANSFORMED THE U.S. CONSULAR SCENE THROUGHOUT SAUDI ARABIA. KNOWING THE PITFALLS' THE PROJECT DIRECTOR CONOFF BELIEVES
END SUMMARY. IT IS POSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH A VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM IN A MUCH
SHORTER PERIOD OF TIME AND CERTAINLY IN MUCH LESS TIME IN A
AN OUTLINE OF THE PROGRAM SMALLER COUNTRY.

b. (U) THE PROJECT DIRECTOR CONOFF BEGAN BY CONDUCTING A


1. fll! USING CA "BEST PRACTICES' AS ITS BASIS. THE U.S. TOP-TO-BOTTON REVIEW OF HOW CONSULAR PERSONNEL PROCESS NIV
VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM EMPLOYS SELECTED TRAVEL AGENCIES AND APPLICATIONS AT POST. AT THE SAME TIME' CONOFFS MET WITH
THEIR NATIONWIDE NETWORKS AS NIV APPLICATION RECEPTION
POINTS. THESE FIRMS REVIEW THE APPLICATIONS FOR LEADING TRAVEL AGENTS TO DISCUSS THE IDEA OF SUCH A VISA
COMPLETENESS, ENTER THE DATA ON DISKETTES USING CA'S REMOTE SERVICE AND TO LEARN THEIR SUGGESTIONS. SOME OF THEM WERE
DATA SERVICE IRDSl SOFTVARE INSTALLED AT EACH CLIENT ALREADY TAKING IN VISA APPLICATIONS AND SUBMITTING THEM TO
COMPANY, RECEIVE THE MRV AND ISSUANCE FEES, AND DELIVER THE EMBASSY RIYADH, BUT THEY WERE NOT DOING DATA ENTRY, WHICH
APPLICATIONS, DISKETTES, AND FEES DAILY TO EMBASSY RIYADH MEANT THEY-WOULD NEED TO TRANSFORM AND EXPAND THEIR U.S. NIV
AND CONSULA1E GENERAL JEDDAH FOR PROCESSING. THE FOLLOWING OPERATION. 'EMBASSY RIYADH CONSUL GENERAL AND CONOFF MET
WORKING DAY, THE AGENCIES COLLECI THE PASSPORTS OF THOSE WITH THE EMBASSY COUNTRY TEAM, POST GSO, POST DEPARTMENT OF
APPLICANTS WHOSE VISAS WERE ISSUED WITHOUT INTERVIEW, DROP
OFF NEW APPLICATIONS, AND RETURN THE VISA-ED PASSPORTS TO COMMERCE FCS, AND POST PAO STAFF TO INTRODUCE THE CONCEPT
THEIR OFFICES FOR APPLICANTS TO COLLECT AT THEIR AND TO GET FEEDBACK FROM A BROAD RANGE OF IN-HOUSE SOURCES
CONVENIENCE. MONTHS BEFORE THE PROGRAM WAS PUBLICLY LAUNCHED. THE
EMBASSY RIYADH CONSUL GENERAL AND THE PROJECT DIRECTOR
3. INITIALLY, THE PROGRAM, WHICH WAS STARTED IN EARLY CONOFF TRAVELED TO THE CONSULATE GENERAL IN BOTH JEDDAH AND
OHAHRAN TO INTRODUCE THE CONCEPT TO THE CONSULAR STAFFS
HAY AND WAS OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED WITH COUNTRYWIDE MEDIA THERE.

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COVERAGE THE FIRST OF JUNE, WAS MANDATORY ONLY FOR SAUDI
APPLICANTS AND FOR QUALIFIED NON-SAUDI RESIDENT TCNS. 6. IUI THE EMBASSY RIYADH CONSUL GENERAL AND THE PROJECT
(QUALIFIED RESIDENT TCNS WERE DEFINED AS PERSONS WHO HAD DIRECTOR CONOFF MADE PRESENTATIONS TO THE REPRESENTATIVES OF
TRAVELED TO THE U.S. ON A MULTIPLE ENTRY NIV WITHIN THE THE TRAVEL AGENCIES AT MEETINGS CONDUCTED AT ALL THREE
PREVIOUS TWO YEARS). IN LATE JUNE, HOWEVER, GIVEN THE POSTS. THEY GAVE THE AGENCIES A THREE-WEEK DEADLINE FOR
PROGRAM'S SUCCESS AND FHE HEIGHTENED TERRORIST THREAT IN THE SUBMITTING PROPOSALS AS TO HOW THEY WOULD" HANDLE THE
REGION, THE EMBASSY EXPANDED IT OVERNIGHT TO MAKE IT SERVICE. .CONOFF ANALYZED SUBMISSIONS FROM SO

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UNCLASSIFIED INCOMING
TELEGRAM
Department of State
PAGE 02 OF 02 RIYADH 02326 00 OF 03 191354Z SHC1533 RIYADH 02326 00 OF 03 I31354Z SHC1533
COMPANIES HATER ANOTHER TWENTY ATTEMPTED JO JOIN ON THE
BANDWAGON WITH EVEN MORE PROPOSALS). SHE ASSESSED THE MEDICAL SERVICES. EFFECTIVE NONIMMIGRANT VISA SERVICES ALSO
PROPOSALS ACCORDING TO A SET OF TEN MAJOR CRITERIA. SUPPORTS THE EXPORTS OF U.S. GOODS AND SERVICES BY .
INCLUDING EXPERIENCE. COMPUTER CAPABILITY. COMMITMENT TO FACILITATING BUSINESS TRAVEL. BY COMPLETELY REORGANIZING
ADVERTISING. OFFICE SECURITY. GEOGRAPHIC BREADTH OF BRANCH HOW THE MISSION PROVIDES NIV SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC, THE KEY
NETWORKS. AND GENERAL REPUTATION NATIONALLY OR REGIONALLY. MPP GOAL OF AMERICAN CITIZENS JS FACILITATED BY FREEING
BASED ON CONOFF'S EVALUATION OF THE VARIOUS PROPOSALS AND CONSULAR OFFICERS' TINE FROM NIV SERVICES AND ALLOWING IT TO
THE COMPANIES' STRENGTHS. SHE AND THE CONSUL GENERAL BE REALLOCATED TO PROVIDING SERVICES TO AHCITS. FINALLY,
SELECTED TEN COMPANIES TO LAUNCH THE PROGRAM OVER A TEST THE MPP GOAL OF DIPLOMATIC READINESS IS ADVANCE BY REDUCING
PERIOD. WITH THE IDEA THAT THE NUMBER MIGHT EVENTUALLY BE THE NUMBER OF VISITORS TO THE MISSION'S POSTS, THUS
CUT. ENHANCING SECURITY AND REDUCING THE LOCAL GUARD FORCE
7. (Ul THE MISSION THEN SIGNED A MEMORANDUM OF RESOURCES NEEDED TO SCREEN AND INSPECT VISITORS.
UNDERSTANDING (MOU1 VITH THE TRAVEL AGENCIES THAT CA AND L
HAD PROVIDED TO EMBASSY RIYADH. THE MOU INCLUDES ALL THE 11. (Ul IN THE MISSION'S EXPERIENCE, THE VISA EXPRESS
REQUIREMENTS THE EMBASSY HAD STIPULATED IN THE INITIAL PROGRAM HffS PROVEN TO BE A WINNER ALL AROUND. THE SAUDI
PRESENTATIONS AND HAD USED TO EVALUATE AND SELECT THE PUBLIC'LOVES THE CONVENIENCE. THE SAUDI GOVERNMENT, WHICH
WAS INITIALLY HESITANT, IS NOW ASKING THE BRITISH AND FRENCH
COMPANIES. IN ADDITION, IT SEK A MAXIMUM FEE WHICH TRAVEL EMBASSIES IN RIYADH TO IMPLEMENT THE EXACT SAME SYSTEM. THE
AGENCIES CAN CHARGE 75 BE THE AGENT FOR U.S. NIV TRAVEL AGENCIES HAVE GAINED PUBLICITY AND NAME RECOGNITION
APPLICATIONS. THIS FEE IS A CEILING BUT NOT A FLUOR. SOME FOR THEIR TRAVEL SERVICE. THE CONSULAR NIV STAFF SAYS THE
PARTICIPATING TRAVEL AGENCIES NAVE OPTED NOT TO CHARGE NEW SYSTEM HAS VASTLY REDUCED STRESS ON THEM.
CUSTOMERS FOR U.S. VISA EXPRESS SERVICE IF THEY PURCHASE
THEIR AIR TICKETS AND VACATION PACKAGE/HOTELS THROUGH THE 12. (U) THE U.S VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM IS THE WAY OF .THE
TRAVEL AGENCY. FOLLOWING THE SELECTION AND THE SIGNING. THE FUTURE AND EMBASSY RIYADH, WHOSE'CONSUL GENERAL SERVES AS
PROJECT DIRECTOR CONOFF KEPT IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION BY RCC FOR THE ARABIAN PENINSULA, HAS ALREADY BEGUN ENCOURAGING
TELEPHONE AND E-MAIL VITH ALL THE COMPANIES TO REMIND THEM OTHER MISSIONS IN THE REGION TO LAUNCH SIMILAR PROGRAMS.
OF THEIR COMMITMENTS. CRITICAL TO ITS SUCCESS, HOWEVER, IS THAT THE PROGRAM MUST
BE MADE MANDATORY; OTHERWISE, NIV APPLICANTS win REFUSE TO
«. (U) DURING THE SUBSEQUENT THREE WEEKS, BETWEEN THE MOU USE IT Al FIRST. ONCE IN PLACE AND ACCEPTED BY THE
SIGNING AND THE OFFICIAL PRESS CONFERENCE/MEDIA LAUNCHING* TRAVELING PUBLIC, THE VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM WILL IMPROVE
THE EMBASSY AND THE CONSULATE GENERAL IN JEDDAH ACTUALLY CONSULAR EFFICIENCY AND ENHANCE F.iiSiON SECURITY THROUGHOUT
BEGAN TO OPERATE THE NEW SERVICE INFORMALLY AS A WAY TO TEST THE REGION.
ALL THE '"SYSTEMS' BEFORE "FINAL LAUNCH". DURING THIS BRAYSHAW
INTENSE PERIOD. CONOFF ORGANIZED INSTALLATION AND TRAINING
PROGRAMS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY FOR'THE TRAVEL AGENCIES TO
LEARN THE RDS SOFTWARE. FORTUNATELY. A CA ORKAND REFRESHER
TEAM WAS IN DHAHRAN AND POST WAS ABLE TO OBTAIN DEPARTMENT
APPROVAL FOR A TEAM MEMBER TO CONE TO RIYADH TO HOLD
INTRODUCTORY TRAINING. THEN CONOFFS AND CONSULAR NIV FSNS
WENT ON THE ROAD TO THE TRAVEL AGENCIES' OFFICES IN RIYADH,
JEDDAH, AND THE EASTERN PROVINCE CITIES OF AL KHOBAR AND
DAMMAM TO SURVEY THEIR VISA EXPRESS OPERATIONS AND TO TRAIN
THEIR STAFFS. AT THE SAME TIME- COMPANIES WERE ENCOURAGED
TO BEGIN THEIR ADVERTISING AND TO BEGIN BRINGING IN VISA
APPLICATIONS IN ORDER TO GET THE PUBL'IC USED TO THE NEW
SERVICE BEFORE THE FORHAL JUNE 1 LAUNCHING.
9. THROUGHOUT THIS PERIOD, THE PROJECT DIRECTOR CONOEF

ALSO WORKED WITH THE EHBASSY RIYADH PAO STAFF TO PREPARE A


MEDIA EVENT 10 LAUNCH THE PROGRAM ON JUNE 1. TOGETHER, THEY
MANAGED TO GET SOME STORIES PLACED IN THE LOCAL PRESS IN
ADVANCE. THE EMBASSY RIYADH CONSUL GENERAL FORMALLY
LAUNCHED THE VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM WITH A FULL-SCALE MEDIA
EVENT WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF ALL THE TRAVEL COMPANIES ALSO
IN ATTENDANCE. HE EMPHASIZED THAT THE NEW SERVICE WOULD BE
ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE TRAVELING PUBLIC AS WELL AS THE MISSION.
FOR DAYS AFTER THE COKSU:. GENERAL'S PRESS CONFERENCE, THE
SAUDI MEDIA RAN A VARIETY OF STORIES IN BOTH THE ARABIC AND
ENGLISH PRESS.

COMMENTS- IMPLICATIONS. AND THE FUTURE

10. (Ul THE VISA EXPRESS PROGRAM DIRECTLY ADVANCES SEVERAL


MPP GOALS. THE ACHIEVEMENT OF MISSION OBJECTIVES UNDER
TRAVEL AND MIGRATION IS ENHANCED IN THAT WE CAN MORE
EFFECTIVELY SUPPORT THE TRAVEL Of THOSE SAUDIS AND RESIDENT
TCNS WHO COME TO THE U.S. FOR TOURIST, EDUCATIONAL, AND

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