Viewing cable 05VILNIUS1275
Title: PRELIMINARY RESULTS FROM B1/B2 VISA VALIDATION

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS12752005-12-05 11:30:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vilnius
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 001275 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
STATE FOR CA/VO/F/P, CA/FPP, EUR/NB 
FRANKFURT FOR RSC-RCO RBROWN 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: CVIS KFRD LH
SUBJECT: PRELIMINARY RESULTS FROM B1/B2 VISA VALIDATION 
STUDY FOR LITHUANIA 
 
REF: VILNIUS 986 
 
¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: We have completed work on the first three 
months of a year-long, B1/B2 validation study.  Two percent 
of our randomly selected applicants during this period did 
not return, while another one percent remain as suspected 
yet unconfirmed overstays.  While this preliminary data 
does not constitute a statistically valid study, we are 
nonetheless pleasantly surprised by the result and will be 
keen to see if this data reflects a genuine decrease in 
Lithuanian overstays.  At the same time, we realize that 
our validation study will not capture some instances of 
visa misuse, such as those who work illegally during their 
visits to the United States and those who use their visas 
to immigrate to America at some time in the future.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
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Three Months of Year-Long Study Complete 
---------------------------------------- 
 
¶2. (U) We have completed the first three months of our 
validation study on all issued B1/B2 visas for Lithuanian 
applicants during the year-long period between November 
2004 and October 2005 (reftel).  This study will provide us 
with an approximate overstay rate, within a small margin of 
error, for all Lithuanian business and tourist visitors 
over an extensive period of time.  We are implementing this 
validation study in a "rolling" fashion -- i.e., we are 
performing checks continuously, rather than all at one-time 
-- and are therefore able to review results while the study 
is ongoing. 
 
¶3. (U) We issued a total of 3,492 B1/B2 visas to Lithuanian 
citizens during the year-long period of the study. 
Although the actual number of issuances during the year- 
long period was somewhat lower than our earlier estimate, 
we will in the end have a total sample size of just over 
700, comfortably more than the minimum required sample size 
of 682.  We issued 678 B1/B2 visas during the first three 
months of the study period (November 2004 - January 2005). 
Using the methodology described reftel, we set our sampling 
interval at 1/5 and drew a random sample of 137 cases 
during these first three months. 
 
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Low Overstay Rate, So Far 
------------------------- 
 
¶4. (SBU) The following is a breakdown of the results from 
the first three months of the study: 
 
Confirmed Returned                      -  102 
Did Not Travel                          -   30 
Confirmed Did Not Return                -    3 
Insufficient Data (Still investigating) -    2 
--------------------------------------------- - 
Total Sample Size                       -  137 
 
¶5. (U) We note that these results reflect only applicants 
from the November 2004 - January 2005 period and cannot be 
extrapolated to draw conclusions regarding applicants for 
the entire year.  Only the complete study will provide data 
for the year-long period, and include a much larger sample 
to make the results statistically valid with a standard 
error of less than five percent at a 95 percent confidence 
interval.  These preliminary results, while useful, cannot 
provide us a statistically valid overstay rate with any 
level of confidence. 
 
¶6. (SBU) Two percent of our randomly selected applicants -- 
three individuals -- were confirmed to have not returned. 
An additional one percent could not be conclusively 
determined, and can be considered suspected overstays until 
we complete our investigation of the cases.  A surprisingly 
large percentage, 22 percent, did not travel even 10 months 
after receiving visas.  We were able to determine most 
cases by telephone calls to the applicants themselves, 
although in some cases we also used the mail and contacted 
employers to double-check results or investigate further. 
 
------------------------ 
Some Initial Conclusions 
------------------------ 
 
¶7. (SBU) Although it is difficult to draw substantive 
conclusions with such a small sample size, the low number 
of overstays thus far is surprising.  We are keen to see if 
this preliminary data reflects a genuine decrease in 
overstays from Lithuania. 
 
¶8. (SBU) Two of the three confirmed overstays were retired 
women visiting relatives in the United States, a profile 
matching a persistently large number of our visa 
applicants.  The third confirmed overstay and both of the 
cases for which we have insufficient data are young cruise 
line employees, who are by nature more itinerant and whose 
return is more difficult to confirm. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Concerns Regarding Study Results 
-------------------------------- 
¶9. (U) Work during this initial period has also revealed 
some concerns regarding the results of our validation 
study.  Any validation study, even one conducted for 
applicants over an extensive period, generally poses only 
one primary question: at a reasonable time after receiving 
a visa, did a particular applicant return to his/her home 
country?  Anecdotal evidence from the interviewing window, 
however, tells us that many Lithuanians use their B1/B2 
visas not to immigrate permanently to the United States, 
but to work illegally for up to six months out of the year 
in order to bolster their meager income back home.  Yet a 
validation study records such an offender as a "Confirmed 
Return," since he/she generally would have returned by the 
time of the study and because we usually cannot determine 
whether the person in question engaged in illegal work 
while in the United States.  Our preliminary data does not 
dispel this concern, as nine percent of our confirmed 
returns admitted to staying significantly longer, usually 
five to six months, than they claimed they would when 
applying for the visa. 
 
¶10. (U) Anecdotal evidence also indicates that other 
Lithuanians who use B1/B2 visas to move permanently to the 
United States do not always do so immediately after 
receiving their visas.  We have seen cases involving 
Lithuanians who wait up to several years with a valid B1/B2 
visa (usually valid for 10 years) before moving to America 
to reside illegally or seek a change of status.  We 
therefore are left only to wonder how many of the 22 
percent of applicants who did not travel, and how many of 
those who returned after their first trip, will use their 
visas to move permanently to the United States at some more 
convenient time in the future.  Two of the three applicants 
who did not return, and both of the suspected but 
unconfirmed overstays, had previously traveled to the 
United States.  Given the complex nature of Lithuanian 
emigration patterns, therefore, we recognize that our 
validation study may not catch a significant portion of 
visa misuse by Lithuanian citizens. 
 
MULL