Q: Is there a quota system for visitor's visas? Is it true that it is one officer's job just to say "no" to everyone he sees that day?
A: No. Each case is examined individually and on its own merits. For nonimmigrant visas, there are no quotas for the hour, the day, the month, or the year. (Certain categories of immigrant visas are subject to annual numerical limits but these limits are global, rather than specific to Jamaica. Those limits determine when an immigrant visa case becomes "current", as discussed in a previous column.) On any given day, it is possible that every applicant for a visitor's visa might qualify, just as it is possible that every applicant might be denied. The embassy never "runs out" of visas.
Officers are not assigned a "hard" or "easy" role for the day. On the contrary, each officer adjudicates visa applications in a consistent manner to ensure proper decision making based on US immigration law, which serves as a common standard for all adjudications. Officers meet regularly as a group to ensure that all are enforcing the law consistently, and supervisory officers review the decisions made by interviewing officers on a daily basis.
Additionally, visa applicants are called to the window in random order through an automated queuing system. To ensure fairness and consistency, no one applicant is directed to a particular officer. This means each applicant is given an equal chance of seeing any interviewing officer, and every officer applies the same adjudication standards as the next.
Consular officers recognise that each individual visa decision is important, both to the applicant and to the United States. They are highly trained and dedicated professionals, and consider the integrity of the application system as a point of professional pride. As such, they give each and every case the individual consideration it deserves.
For more information about American Citizen Services, please visit our website, http://kingston.usembassy.gov/service. html.
The US Embassy staff in Kingston will answer questions you may have regarding the US Mission, including consular law, regulations and/or practice. In order to respect privacy, staff will not answer questions about specific visa applications. The embassy employs a visa appointment system, so it is only necessary for visa applicants to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment.
Send your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send them to the embassy.