In the Greek embassy a selectee has been placed on Administrative Processing (AP) until she can provide her education information. She is currently almost finished with a University degree and presented her High School degree which she had authenticated by the Albanian embassy (because she is Albanian and completed High School in Albania. So – she had documents to prove that she completed High School, she is attending University but still she was put on AP and they want proof of her completion of primary and middle school.
So why did it happen. Well it was sort of understandable and exactly what I warn about in my post on education requirements.
- She interviewed in Greece (one of the toughest embassies according to my league table, meaning they apply the rules firmly).
- She is Albanian so went to school there (and the Greek embassy probably know nothing about the education system in Albanian).
The rules say you have to have an education comparable to US High school education (which takes satisfactory completion of 12 years of elementary and secondary level education). In practice, that point in the USA is the point at which you can enter University (known as college in USA). Note that you might fail a year or two in the USA so simple attendance is not the qualification – it is “High School graduation” level they are looking for.
Many people hear high school and they jump to the fact that they completed high school in their country (which does not always take the same 12 years and therefore is not quite enough to meet the requirement) OR they assume that because they have been to University or got a degree from University they have achieved the same level as the USA entry point. We’ll if the CO applies the rules “correctly” they should consider whether you completed (AND passed) the equivalent amount of education. Additionally, for some bizarre reason they have ruled out all forms of vocational education. They have also ruled out shortcut or test out methods to get into University.
So in this case the embassy didn’t have the Albanian system requirements to hand, and because they are following the rules, they are asking for evidence that she attended and passed 12 years of education at elementary and secondary education. Once she shows that, then you will not have a problem, and usually the AP on these cases will complete around a week or two after you supply the documents.
In this case, the selectee will be fine – she can obtain the needed proof and it is early in the year. However, if this happened later in the year (July/August/September) this could easily cost the selectee the visa because the visa place will not be held open while the selectee is on AP. Once AP is completed, a visa needs to be reallocated – and as many found out last year, there is not always a visa.
So – lessons to learn from this.
- This is proof that some COs will follow the letter of the rules in regard to education – even for an applicant that has gone beyond the requirement by attending university.
- It is essential to attend your interview with well prepared documents.
- Interviewing outside of your home country introduces some risk.
- Some embassies are more strict than others.
- Don’t be complacent and please listen to the experts who are sometimes “picky” about the rules. You may not understand or think you know better, but it is too easy to lose your visa over a silly, avoidable reason.