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General News of Monday, 26 June 2017

Source: starrfmonline.com

We’re not denying Ghana’s former Pesidents visas – US Embassy

The US Embassy in Ghana has clarified former presidents of Ghana will still enjoy diplomatic courtesies, despite an initial fiat that it has stripped protocol visa allocation to top Ghanaian government officials.

US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, told the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament: “As for the protocol, normally if you are applying for official travel there is no personal appearance required so there is no reason for your parliamentary protocol officer to come to the Embassy whatever.

“The normal channel will be for him to pass the visas and passport to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, and their protocol people will be permitted to come to the Embassy, and we will do everything we can to process those visas within 48 hours of receipt.

“If you are travelling for tourism or business that is not related to government business, you will be required to make a personal appearance even with former Presidents. There are no exceptions.”

However, the press attaché of the Embassy Sarah Stealey has stressed they will continue to extend diplomatic courtesies to former presidents of Ghana to embark on personal visits.

“Under US law, anybody who is seeking a nonimmigrant visa to travel to the United States, generally need to appear in person for an interview with the Consular Officer,” she said on Citi FM.

She further stated that “there are some few exceptions under this law where an interview may be waved.”

She identified diplomats and officials who are travelling on official business to the US, but if these [officials] apply for a new visa for personal travel, “then they need to appear in person for that interview.”

Stealey categorically stated “there are special procedures to extend courtesies to high profile persons like former presidents when the Ambassador mentions this.”

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