Final Word from Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Twenty percent of the visas issued by the U.S. embassy in Prague in the past year went to Czechs with a valid U.S. visa but with an expired passport. About 6,000 people had to get new visas because the CR, in violation of standard international practice, requires its citizens to turn in their old passports. The interior ministry said yesterday that Czechs can't legally keep their old passports but that some issuing offices advise people with visas to "lose" their old document, at their own risk but with no penalties attached. The U.S. embassy, in turn, said that it certainly doesn't encourage Czechs to break the law by reporting their old passports as lost, but it did say it would like the Czechs to change the law. If the interior ministry agreed to make the change, no one would have to contemplate breaking the law, and Czechs could save $600,000 a year in duplicate visa fees.


Tel: 420 224 221 580

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FS Final Word