OK – I have been contacted by a young man who has been refused for his DV visa by Accra embassy. He agreed for my to publish some of what he told me to warn others who might go through the same thing and to try and prepare people for how they should react.
Here is his interview “transcript” based on what he remembers.
CO told me to swear
Me I swear
Co I known you are student, so tell me where do you school
Me college of agricultural
Co; what’s agricultural
Co: what did you learnt last week.
Me; crop production
CO; what’s crop production
CO; what did you learnt from crop
Me: the difference between growth rate as compared to previous days and also de leave margins. Etc
CO; what did you also learn.
Me: I also learned more about vegetables and maize production. And also I want to greenhouse to learn disease n pests in vegetables
Co; what you’re telling me is not true. Do you something to show that YOU are a student at the college of agricultural.
Co; show it
Me; I brought out my result slip
CO; good result, you had grade A in mathematics. What’s mathematics.
CO: YOU also had grade A in chemistry.
Me: madam please I did chemistry, mathematical; crops, animal science etc all in my 1st years* level 100. So please I can talk more of my present course as now im in my final year* level 400
CO; yes I know but you still need to tell me something about what you learn in chemistry.
Me: thank you madam, I learned organic chemistry@ atom, nuclear , nucleus.
CO. Im sorry atom, nucleus and all what you mentioned is not part of chemistry.
Me; madam is part of chemistry topics
CO: im sorry I can’t give you VISA.
OK – so what happened. Well the CO was asking a number of questions to establish that the applicant had indeed attended the educational courses he said he had. The CO administered an “oral examination”. This is HIGHLY unusual and I am not suggesting that anyone worries that the same will happen to them, BUT it is absolutely clear to me that this oral examination should NOT have been administered. So – in the unlikely case this comes up in your interview, how should you handle it?
Right – why do I say this should not have been administered? COs operate to a set of instructions. The instructions interpret the laws that control immigration law and give guidelines on how cases should be handled. The instructions are in the “Foreign Affairs Manual” and this particular area is covered in 9 FAM 42.33 N7.3. That document is available in pdf format here.
IN that section part (b) says:-
“A DV refusal must be based on evidence that the alien did not in fact obtain the required degree and not on your assessment of the alien’s knowledge level. You may not administer an exam, either oral or written, to test an applicant’s basic knowledge in order to determine whether they have the equivalent of a U.S. high school education. You may not refuse a DV applicant solely on the basis of your analysis of the applicant’s basic knowledge. Doubts about the applicant’s claimed educational level raised by your interview, however, may lead you to investigate the authenticity of the educational credentials claimed by the DV applicant.”
In other words, if the CO doubted the credentials presented the CO would have been entitled to put the selectee on AP while the credentials were checked. However, the CO refused the case solely on the educational assessment that should NOT have been administered in the first place!
So – if this happens – what can you do? Well you must understand that there is no formal appeal. KCC cannot help, and the embassy cannot be FORCED to reconsider. So, while I have advised the selectee to request a supervisor to review the case, this request could easily be denied.
So, if this happens you must remain calm and polite. It is ideal to arm yourself with knowledge about these matters and you can respectfully request that the CO puts you on AP and takes a supervisors opinion. If you have the 9 FAM pdf printed out you could refer the CO to that. Honestly, you have to use “honey” because you cannot win an argument since these COs are powerful. They do not HAVE to ask a supervisor for a review, you have NO rights. This is directly in contrast with an immigration interview on US soil where the selectee does have rights. So – you have to persuade, not threaten.
Please be prepared for your interview. In my own case I was being delayed by a USA field office for my own DV interview. I had to spend 75 minutes persuading an immigration officer that she was wrong and thankfully I had printed information with me to prove what I was asking for was right. However, your case is YOUR case. Prepare well and hopefully you will sail though. I should mention that the VAST majority of DV interviews are 2 to 3 minutes long and not at all difficult. It is a great shame that we hear of cases like this one – and I hope this obviously bad decision gets reversed.
The embassy responded as follows.
“We wish to inform you that there are no reviews or appeals in Diversity Visa cases. Applicants are expected to demonstrate a basic level of knowledge commensurate with their documents. For example, if you passed your English exam, then it would be reasonable to expect that you speak enough English to have an interview. If you present and advanced degree in biology, then it would be reasonable to assume that you can speak logically and well about general biology topics.”
This is ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT. The COs are not trained to administer oral examinations and their skill level in interpreting the answers can lead to incorrect adjudication. For that exact reason, the Department of State has created guidelines to ensure they do ont administer these oral examinations, but as we can see, Accra Embassy seems to believe it is OK to administer these oral exams. It isn’t OK.
Based on their response I have contacted the embassy through their FB page with a post here. The text of that post is copied below.
The action of the CO and the subsequent response was UTTERLY incorrect and Mr Seitz and Mr Cretz should tackle this deliberate misapplication of the rules with immediate action. This reflects very badly on the ability of the embassy to administer the rules according to the guidelines given.
In administering the oral examination, the CO was behaving contrary to Department of State guidelines as laid out in the Foreign Affairs Manual ( 9 FAM 42.33 N7.3) where it is stated:-
“A DV refusal must be based on evidence that the alien did not in fact obtain the required degree and not on your assessment of the alien’s knowledge level. You may not administer an exam, either oral or written, to test an applicant’s basic knowledge in order to determine whether they have the equivalent of a U.S. high school education. You may not refuse a DV applicant solely on the basis of your analysis of the applicant’s basic knowledge. Doubts about the applicant’s claimed educational level raised by your interview, however, may lead you to investigate the authenticity of the educational credentials claimed by the DV applicant” I will gladly provide the details of the selectee in order that this mistake can be rectified as soon as possible. A transcript of the interview is here:-