Thursday, February 22, 2007

America Now Grants Visas from Freetown Sierra Leone

The United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Mr. Thomas N. Hull, announced yesterday that the US Embassy in Freetown has officially resumed processing of Non-Immigrant Visas at the Consular Service of the Embassy with immediate effect.

Ambassador Hull, was speaking yesterday at a News Conference held at the Embassy’s Leicester Peak Office, West of Freetown, noting that it is now time for him to answer to the questions being asked by the people of Sierra Leone about when the US will start issuing out Non-Immigrant Visas in Freetown.

"Today I will give the assurance to all Sierra Leoneans that the issuance of Non-Immigrant Visas for the United States of America has resumed in Freetown, and that Sierra Leoneans will no longer have to be bothered with the struggle of going to Guinea and Senegal for US Visas."

Ambassador Hull, also noted and informed the General Public that the visa application procedure has changed since 1997, when the Embassy last processed visas in Sierra Leone. He said the Visa Application Form can now be downloaded and completed via the Internet as a way to avoid queuing of Applicants at the Embassy in accordance with the United States Government’s worldwide diplomatic Missions requirements.

Ambassador Hull, also stated that appointments for visa interview can also be done through the Internet and that visa application processing will cost $100 (One Hundred US Dollars) which can be paid in advance through the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown.

Ambassador Hull also emphasized that the Non-Immigration visa process is not a lottery and that the standards for visas are the same worldwide, and that they are the same for all Sierra Leoneans in Freetown as they were in Conakry.

The Vice Consul Brendan Mullankey, will be the only person that will approve or deny a visa, Ambassador Hull said. He therefore categorically stated that neither he nor any other person working in US Embassies all over the world can influence the visa process under the US Law.

To qualify for a visa, Mr. Hull noted, the US laws require any applicant to demonstrate to the Consular Officer a legitimate reason for their travel and to prove their intention to leave the United States in a timely manner.

The Embassy in Freetown, will initially process only Non-Immigrant Visas and is for temporary Visitors, like Students, Tourists, Business Travelers, Diplomats and Government Officials and for individuals temporarily visiting Families and Friends in the U.S.

Visa application forms can be obtained online at the embassy’s website of http://freetown.usembassy.gov by completing a free visa application form and scheduling an Interview Appointment. The $100 is the cost of the processing. Downloading the online Internet Forms are free of charge.

Meanwhile, two popular Internet Cafes in Freetown, LUMLEY BEACH DOT COM and SYLVIA BLYDEN DOT COM are already offering special assistance to users who wish to learn how to fill the visa forms online through the Internet.

"We are open 24 hours a day and so anyone can walk in at any time of the day or night and fill out an America Visa application Form at our cafes. Just walk in and someone will assist you quickly" said Lawrence Bangura one of the Managing Supervisors.

Link to America Now Grants Visas from Freetown Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone News