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US imposes visa restrictions on Ghana

he United States (US) has announced that beginning from February 4, its Embassy in Accra will discontinue issuing all non-immigrant visas (NIV) to domestic employees (A3 and G5) of Ghanaian diplomats posted in the US.

The statement issued by the US Embassy and copied to the Ghana News Agency said: “It is important to note that A3 and G5 visa applications will be processed, but no visas in these categories will be issued while these restrictions remain in effect.”

It said the lack of adjudication did not mean a visa denial, adding that, “the application will remain pending until the visa restrictions are lifted, at which point, the visa application will continue to be processed for issuance”. 

Consular officers are also going to limit the validity period and number of entries on new tourist and business visas (B1, B2, and B1/B2) for all Ghanaian executive and legislative branch employees, their spouses, and their children under 21 to one-month, single-entry visas.

Visas issued prior to the effective date of these restrictions will not be affected.

The statement reminded countries, which have signed on to the UN Convention on International Civil Aviation that there are obligated to issue the necessary travel documents to its citizens under deportation orders from another country.

Section 243(d) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act says, when a country is determined to be denying or unreasonably delaying accepting the return of its nationals, the US Government institutes visa restrictions until the situation is resolved.

It said all other consular operations at the US Embassy in Accra would continue as normal at this time.

These visa restrictions would not affect other consular services provided, including adjudication of applications from individuals not covered by the imposition of the restrictions (for example, student visas).

It said since July 2016, the US Government had engaged with the Government of Ghana in both Washington DC and Accra on the matter.

The US values its vibrant partnership with Ghana, and remains committed to working together with the Government of Ghana to resolve the situation, it added.

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