Viewing cable 05VILNIUS139
Title: A/S HARTY'S MEETING WITH GOL CONSULAR OFFICIALS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05VILNIUS1392005-02-10 11:48:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED 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 000139 
 
SIPDIS 
 
ECA/A/E/EUR FOR SCOTT RIGHETTI 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV CASC PREL CVIS CMGT ASEC LH
SUBJECT: A/S HARTY'S MEETING WITH GOL CONSULAR OFFICIALS 
PRODUCES RESULTS FOR AMCIT RESIDENTS 
REF: (A) 04 VILNIUS 1548, (B) VILNIUS 79 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - NOT FOR INTERNET 
 
¶1. (U) Summary:  Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs 
Maura Harty met with Lithuanian Vice Foreign Minister 
Zenonas Petrauskas and Consular Department Director 
Vaidotas Verba on February 2, 2005.  The MFA demonstrated 
its plans for biometric identity documents and suggested 
a potential solution to help alleviate AmCit problems 
with residency permits by utilizing an existing long-term 
visa.  Since the GOL is having problems providing 
consistent and adequate consular services to the growing 
numbers of Lithuanians living abroad, A/S Harty offered 
to host a visit and to work with our Foreign Service 
Institute in the event they accepted the offer.  A/S 
Harty also expressed concern regarding long delays in 
returning U.S. drivers' licenses surrendered by AmCits to 
obtain Lithuanian licenses; her efforts resulted in the 
liberation later in the day of 19 drivers' licenses by 
the GOL. End Summary. 
 
A Strong Relationship, With a Few Minor Hiccups 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶2. (U) All participants agreed that the bilateral 
relationship and level of cooperation between the USG and 
GOL is very strong and allows us to resolve most issues 
before they become serious problems.  However, there are 
several persistent irritants that affect the quality of 
life for AmCits resident in Lithuania. 
 
Migration/Visa issues 
--------------------- 
 
¶3. (U) One of the most frequent requests received from 
resident AmCits is whether the cumbersome, inconsistent 
process of obtaining residency permits could be 
streamlined (ref A).  While reshaping the Migration 
Department will be an ongoing task for the GOL, Verba 
proposed an alternative that may ease the hardships on 
AmCits (ref B).  He described a long-term visa (a "D" 
visa) that can be obtained at a Lithuanian Embassy or 
Consulate in the United States before departing.  This 
visa allows the holder to be in Lithuania for six months 
or longer without penalty, compared with the three month 
permitted stay for visa-free entry. Since the visa is 
valid for a longer stay, AmCits can remain in status 
during the typical six-month time period required to 
obtain a residency permit. Verba assured us that this 
visa can be issued in seven working days or less at 
embassies or consulates. 
 
Emptying out the Drivers' License Drawer 
---------------------------------------- 
 
¶4. (U) Any AmCit who applies for a Lithuanian driver's 
license is required to surrender their U.S. license to 
the road police.  The road police, after verifying the 
validity of the license, should submit it to the MFA, who 
will return it to us.  In theory, this should take no 
longer than a few days.  In reality, several months will 
transpire without our ever seeing a single license at the 
Embassy.  After A/S Harty raised this issue with Verba at 
11:00 A.M., a package from the MFA was received at 4:00 
P.M. containing 19 returned drivers' licenses. 
 
Biometric Identity Documents 
---------------------------- 
 
¶5. (U) Verba provided a short description of the new 
Lithuanian diplomatic passport.  MFA will use this as a 
pilot program for biometrically compliant documents. The 
passport will contain biometric fingerprint data on a 
72kb Philips contactless chip.  The passports are 
manufactured by Francois-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire, 
which also produces visa foils for the GOL.  Verba stated 
that the GOL will eventually require biometric 
fingerprint data in all passports, even if the EU does 
not mandate it. The GOL is not planning to use retina 
scans at this time. 
 
Increasing demand for GOL Consular Services Abroad 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
¶6. (SBU) More and more Lithuanians are choosing to live 
abroad, especially after EU accession.  There are large 
Lithuanian expatriate communities in Spain, Ireland, the 
UK, and the United States.  GOL recently announced they 
will open a consulate in Spain due to the increasing 
number of Lithuanians residing there.  This growing 
diaspora has dramatically increased demand for Consular 
Services from the GOL.  It has also exposed the lack of 
consistency and experience in the Consular Corps.  A/S 
Harty offered to share our experience in ensuring 
consistent procedures and customer service in over 200 
different locations.  She suggested that the MFA send 
representatives to observe consular training here, and to 
consult with CA on how we design our procedures. 
Petrauskas appeared intrigued by the suggestion, and 
mentioned that he may himself participate. 
 
Visa Waiver? What Visa Waiver? 
------------------------------ 
 
¶7. (U) Petrauskas mentioned Lithuania's desire to 
participate in the Visa Waiver Program almost as an 
afterthought, in the last two minutes of the meeting. 
A/S Harty affirmed that Lithuania is traveling on the 
right path, focusing on meeting the technical and 
security requirements of the VWP.  She also referred to 
the meetings she held last year with several new EU 
member representatives, referencing the legal 
requirements to be eligible for the program. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶8. (SBU) These two productive meetings reflect the strong 
cooperation we regularly receive from the GOL's Consular 
Department.  Although the weight of the bureaucracy 
occasionally overwhelms its good intentions, the GOL's 
desire to facilitate travel and to maintain the strong 
bilateral relationship is clear.  A good case in point 
was the drivers' license episode, in which Ambassador 
Harty's ability to reach to the top of the GOL consular 
service resulted in the liberation of several missing 
Amcit drivers' licenses. 
 
MULL