Political affiliation not a factor in U.S. visa processing: AIT

Taipei, American consular personnel in Taiwan do not take into consideration the political affiliation of applicants seeking United States visas but require a record of any criminal charges brought in Taiwan or the U.S., the de facto U.S. embassy in Taipei said Monday, after a county magistrate said he was denied a visa for political reasons.

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (???) had been denied a U.S. visa because he failed to present the required documents.

"All visa applicants are equal under the law," AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour told CNA. "Those who have criminal charges in the United States or Taiwan must provide documentation that those charges have been cleared before being issued a visa."

The AIT was responding to CNA's questions regarding Fu's statement earlier in the day that his recent U.S. visa application had been rejected for political reasons.

Speaking at a press conference in Taipei, Fu said he was scheduled to fly to the U.S. on Aug. 25 to forge sister city ties with Temple City in California but three days before his departure the AIT asked him to submit an English translation of the legal cases he has been involved in over the past 20 years.

Fu, a former member of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) and a current independent local government head, said the AIT's request was not justified and he accused the U.S. of interfering in Taiwan's domestic affairs. He also said the Democratic Progressive Party administration was collaborating with the U.S. to "oppress" him.

However, Mansour said the AIT processes tens of thousands of visa applications and that the request for translated criminal records was standard.

"Generally, such documentation must be provided in English," she said. "Visa officers do not ask about or consider political affiliation when adjudicating visa applications."

She also advised that potential U.S. visa applicants refer to the information on the AIT website to gain an understanding of the eligibility requirements for the different types of visas.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel