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Protocol visa rules were already in place – US Embassy

The United States Embassy in Ghana has explained that the notification on visa allocations to government officials, including MPs and former Presidents visiting the US unofficially is in accordance with already existing US law.

The embassy in a statement indicated that, under US law, when a diplomat or official applies for a new visa for personal travel, that applicant must appear in person for an interview.

[contextly_sidebar id=”vM3PVxNXp4zYkGREQCkepE6SXQXE5gvc”]It noted further that exceptions to the visa interview may be granted for officials travelling on official government business.

“This is not a new policy. In such limited and special circumstances as having a former president come in, we have procedures established to ensure the appropriate courtesies are extended. When a diplomat or official applies for a visa for personal travel, it is neither necessary nor appropriate for the applicant to be accompanied to the interview by protocol assistants.”

The statement added that, “as a general policy, only visa applicants are allowed in the waiting room. Our communication to the Government of Ghana was meant to clarify this policy. We will continue to work with the government to facilitate legitimate personal and official travel.”

After the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, at a meeting with Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday, clarified that even former presidents would be required to appear in person at the embassy to request visas for personal travels, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it would seek clarity on the matter.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the government would take a decision on the matter after it got the full facts from the US Embassy.

Some MPs have called for a reversal of the decision or retaliation from the Akufo-Addo administration.

Find below the full statement

Statement from the U.S. Embassy on Visa Interview Policy

Under U.S. law, travelers seeking a nonimmigrant visa for travel to the United States must generally appear in person for an interview with a consular officer.

U.S. law also designates limited exceptions under which the visa interview may be waived, such as for diplomats and officials traveling on official government business. However, under U.S. law, when a diplomat or official applies for a new visa for personal travel, that applicant must appear in person for an interview.

This is not a new policy. In such limited and special circumstances as having a former president come in, we have procedures established to ensure the appropriate courtesies are extended. When a diplomat or official applies for a visa for personal travel, it is neither necessary nor appropriate for the applicant to be accompanied to the interview by protocol assistants.

As a general policy, only visa applicants are allowed in the waiting room. Our communication to the Government of Ghana was meant to clarify this policy. We will continue to work with the government to facilitate legitimate personal and official travel.

 

Sara Veldhuizen Stealy, Press Attaché

U.S. Embassy Accra

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana