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DOS Spokesman Addresses Saudi NIVs

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 04021061 (posted Feb. 10, 2004)"

Excerpt from:

Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 9, 2004

QUESTION: One other quick one. Senator Schumer has written a letter that he has also made public to Secretary Powell suggesting that the State Department was considering relaxing visa processes and requirements for Saudi citizens seeking non-immigrant visas to the United States. Are you considering doing that or --

MR. BOUCHER: The standards that apply are applied worldwide. It's a matter of law that people have to meet the security standards and security checks that are done are done worldwide. The emphasis that we have put on doing more and more interviews is being done worldwide. I think we're at a hundred percent or close to a hundred percent interviews in Saudi Arabia with very few exceptions.

That effort to beef up the security of our visa process has been and continues to be one of the highest priorities of the Secretary and the State Department. If we can do that efficiently, more efficiently, we'll look at ways to do that. But security is the -- is the main goal right now, and we're not relaxing standards for anybody.

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