Ghanaian lawmakers and business executives who apply for a US business or tourist visa beginning Monday, February 4, will be issued with a visa lasting for only one month.
Also, the visa to be issued will be for a single-entry, the US Embassy in Ghana has announced on the back of visa restrictions imposed on Ghana by the US government.
The decision by the US government stems from the failure of Ghana to issue the necessary travel documents to some Ghanaians under deportation orders from the United States.
“Ghana has failed to live up to its obligations under international law to accept the return of its nationals ordered removed from the United States,” Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said.
The US government said it has since July 2016 engaged with the government of Ghana in both Washington, DC and Accra on this matter but the needed results has not been achieved.
Consequent to that, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday ordered the consular officers in Ghana to start implementing visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants.
Though details were not given as to the category of applicants to be affected, a statement issued by the US Embassy on its website said the sanctions will affect all non-immigrant visas to domestic employees (A3 and G5) of Ghanaian diplomats posted in the United States.
Student visas are not part of the restrictions, it said.
Although it said the restrictions will not affect new tourist and business visas for Ghanaian executives and legislative employees, their spouses and children under 21 years, their visa validity period will be limited to one month and single entry.
[caption id="attachment_112690" align="aligncenter" width="640"] New US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, handing over credentials to Prez. Akufo-Addo[/caption]
“Consular officers will 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,” the Embassy said.
It however said visas issued prior to the February 4 “will not be affected”.
The Embassy has explained that though non-immigrant visa applications will be processed, “no visas in these categories will be issued while these restrictions remain in effect”.
It added: “the lack of adjudication does not mean a visa denial”.
The US Embassy said all applications that will be made will remain pending until the visa restrictions are lifted, at which point, the visa application will continue to be processed for issuance.
Meanwhile, it said consular operations will continue as normal at this time.
“These visa restrictions will not affect other consular services provided, including adjudication of applications from individuals not covered by the imposition of these restrictions”
Despite the sanctions, the US said it values its vibrant partnership with Ghana, and remains committed to working together with the Government of Ghana to resolve the situation.