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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement

Media Note
October 25, 2000

New Consular Center Opens in Williamsburg, Kentucky

The U.S. Department of State proudly announces the opening of the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) in Williamsburg, Kentucky today, October 25, 2000. The new facility is now processing all entries received during the Diversity Visa 2002 registration mail-in period, which began on October 5 and ends on November 1, 2000. KCC Director John Coe heads a team of 65 contract employees, who were recruited locally in Southeastern Kentucky by SI International, also known as Statistica. Those present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony today included State Department Under Secretary for Management Bonnie Cohen, Assistant Secretary for Administration Patrick Kennedy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services George Lannon, as well as Cynthia Rogers, the wife of Congressman Hal Rogers (R-Somerset), Whitley County Judge/Executive Michael Patrick and Williamsburg Mayor William Nighbert.

This Center increases the State Department's ability to process immigrant visa applications domestically, a move that Ambassador Mary A. Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, has said is in line with the Department's policy to move administrative support for our overseas operations to domestic locations whenever feasible and cost-effective. The expansion to Kentucky supports this policy. Ambassador Ryan adds that, "Domestic locations are less expensive to staff and operate than most overseas missions; they are easier to protect from foreign-based threats of terrorism and fraud; they can coordinate more effectively with other government agencies involved in the immigration process; and they provide jobs in the United States."

The Diversity Visa (DV) program is congressionally-mandated and allows up to 55,000 persons from nations that are historically under-represented in terms of migration to the United States to qualify each year for immigrant visas. The program is also known as the "visa lottery" because the winners are determined through a random drawing from among the 10-12 million people who enter each year. The DV Program already underway (DV-2001) will continue to be handled by the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire through the end of the program on September 30, 2001.

KCC will spend the first months of operation processing the anticipated 12 million mail entries for DV-2002, which are received at the Central Mail Processing Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Once all mail is sorted, reviewed and numbered, a computer program will randomly draw a total of approximately 90,000 entries from among all the mail received. Notification letters to the selected DV-2002 registered applicants will be sent out by KCC next summer. Director John Coe adds that the size of the facility offers room for expansion in terms of additional programs and staff. He notes that "next year we will be continuing to process these cases, but we will also be starting the DV-2003 programs."

The new Center's day-to-day operations will be managed by Statistica, which is also the prime contractor for the National Visa Center Portsmouth, New Hampshire. That facility is also expected to increase its workload significantly over at least the next 2-3 years as it assumes additional responsibilities connected with processing applications for immigrant visas.