JG - US embassy responds on visa courier service
published: Sunday July 17, 2005
THE EDITOR, Sir:
This response is in reference to the letter entitled "Visa courier service queried" printed in the
July 12 edition of The Gleaner.
The author expressed concerns over the embassy's courier service for the delivery of non-immigrant visas. I would like to address these concerns, as well as address some of the inaccuracies contained in the author's statements.
Most importantly, the U.S. Embassy is neither the only, nor the first embassy in Jamaica to make use of the courier pass-back system. In fact, there are dozens of other programmes worldwide that U.S. Embassy Kingston's system was modelled after, including in Trinidad and Tobago, Jordan, and India.
Furthermore, before implementing the programme, the embassy carefully weighed the costs and drawbacks against the enhanced convenience and benefits to the public.
The new procedure will reduce the time applicants must wait at the U.S. Embassy, allow more time for consular officers to review cases, and will better accommodate properly-prepared applicants who will now have to make only one trip to the consular section.
Recipients can choose to have their passports delivered directly either to their home residence, place of business or to one of the company's seven public offices located throughout Jamaica.
The courier service ultimately chosen as the exclusive agent authorised to deliver U.S. non-immigrant visas in Jamaica was selected after a lengthy bidding and thorough security review process.
The U.S. regards its visas as highly-controlled items and has complete oversight and confidence in the security safeguards associated with the courier service.
There are also procedures and controls to ensure that only the information necessary to confirm delivery to an applicant is shared with the courier service in order to address privacy concerns.
The U.S. Embassy does not obtain written permission from applicants to use the courier service; applicants imply their participation by submitting a request for a non-immigrant visa as described in the literature they receive on the day of their interview.
Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the contracted courier has had an incident where a travel document has been lost or damaged since the inception of this programme.
The embassy has procedures in place in the event of a lost passport and would address these types of incidents on a case-by-case basis.
I am, etc.,
U.S. Embassy, Kingston