The U.S. visa lottery: A scam [Archives:2008/1197/Community]

October 9 2008

Lulu Assefa
[email protected]

Every year, about 55.000 people successfully win the visa lottery and obtain entry to the United States of America.

I 'm the one who wins the visa lottery of 2008.

By December 2007, I had fulfilled all the requested formalities at the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a. I was interviewed and paid the due amount for my visa.

From that time until the present, I have been communicating through e-mails and phone calls with them to no avail.

In March 2008, I received a call from a man working for the U.S. Embassy who told me he needed some information about Ethiopia and, that once he had it, he would announce the embassy's final decision.

Four months later, in July, I got a message from a lady at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy asking me to forward my Ethiopian Schools Leaving Certificate Examination (ESLCE) results to its office. Assured that a soft copy would do, I e-mailed them to the consular office.

Some days later, the consular section confirmed that my ESLCE results had reached their office and told me to wait for the final decision on my case. I have since heard nothing from them despite my repeated enquiries by phone and e-mail.

The deadline for this year's great visa lottery is 30 September 2008.

All through September, I sent the consular office e-mails, but received no reply.

On 23 September 2008, I finally got through to someone on the phone. He told me that the embassy needed the original copy of my ESLCE results without which my visa could not be processed. I managed to do this by the 28 September.

Then they asked me for a police certificate clearing me of any criminal history from the age of 16 until the present.

I had already forwarded a police certificate provided from the Yemen Criminal Investigation Department to the consular section when I first applied, and there was only one day left before the deadline.

Such a request was unfair. Why did they ask for a document they already had at such short notice? Why did they never reply to my e-mails and phone calls?

The consular section eventually admitted its mistake, but maintained its request for the police certificate or a clearance paper from the Ethiopian Embassy instead. I informed them that the embassy had closed on the 27 September for the period of Ramadan, but they were unsympathetic and demanded the certificate by the next day. If I didn't provide it, they said, my case would be closed.

The certificate was not requested at any time during my one-sided correspondence to the embassy in September, and now it would take me a month minimum to get it. My visa would not be approved.

The embassy must have known the impossibility of obtaining such documents in a day. It all points to an act of sabotage.

As evidence, I have kept some of my e-mails sent to the consular section of the U.S. embassy in Sana'a and I ask the editor of the Yemen Times to publish my story.

I have no power to do anything on my own and must leave judgment to God Almighty.