Will provide queueing area
I read with interest Ma Ching-chau's letter (South China Morning Post, September 30) regarding the visa queues outside the US Consulate General and share her concern for the comfort and safety of those applying for visas.
We at the consulate general take very seriously our commitment to provide efficient and courteous service to the public - American citizens, Hong Kong residents and third country nationals alike.
In fact, part of the renovation project at the consulate general includes better accommodation for visa applicants, in particular a queueing area away from the public pavement and better provisions for protecting the public from inclement weather. Although the construction programme is moving ahead as quickly as possible, the queueing area has not yet been completed.
While we continue to provide service to the public (the consulate general receives approximately 200,000 visa applications a year), the use of the public pavement and a lack of shelter for visa applicants remain an ongoing concern. Upon completion of the designated area, we hope to accommodate the vast majority of our applicants without inconveniencing the general public, while offering applicants some protection from uncomfortable weather conditions. The issuance of US visas, both immigrant and non-immigrant, and service to American citizens are key elements to the mission of the US Consulate General.
We hope that the renovations, when completed, will demonstrate our commitment to public service.
ROBERT E. TYNES Consul US Consulate General