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US Embassy to clear student visa applications backlog

BY: By Nana Konadu Agyeman & Jemima Okang Addae
Virginia Elliot (left), US Ambassador to Ghana and Rev. John Ntim Fordjour (right), deputy Minister of Education, interacting after the launch. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Virginia Elliot (left), US Ambassador to Ghana and Rev. John Ntim Fordjour (right), deputy Minister of Education, interacting after the launch. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Virginia Palmer, has expressed the commitment of the US Embassy to clear the backlog of visa applications from prospective Ghanaian students seeking to pursue studies in the US.

She said the embassy was currently working around the clock to get students’ visa interview appointments on time to enable successful ones to travel ahead of time.

Ms Palmer, therefore, encouraged prospective students desiring to undertake undergraduate, post-graduate and doctorate degree in the US not to be deterred by delayed appointment interviews in going ahead to apply to US universities.

Non-emigrant visas

Welcoming prospective students to the opening of the 2022 Education USA College Fair in Accra, Ms Palmer said “I have, with permission, taken every officer with the Consulate and put them to work on the visa line.

“The Consulate section has opened up lots of appointments for non-emigrant visas and I will encourage people that need to go to the United States to go ahead and apply for visas,” she said.

Education fair

The two-day fair brought together about 40 high education institutions in the US to offer the students accurate, comprehensive, and current information about opportunities for students to study at accredited universities in the US.

Some of the participating universities are Howard University, Drexel University, Emory University School of Law, Millersville University, Iowa State University of Science and Technology and Middle Tennessee State University.

The rest are New York Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Taxes Technology University, PACE University, Webster University, University of Houston-Victoria, University of Arizona and University of Kentucky.

Interview waiver

The US ambassador said given the concerns over visa application backlog, the embassy had instituted another programme, dubbed, “Interview waiver programme” to support people who already had expired visas to renew them without going back to the embassy.

“You can just send visa application to us by mail and those renewals are very straightforward,” she assured the public.

She also said the embassy had instituted a procedure by which prospective students could request for expedite visa appointments.

With about 4,200 students studying currently in 630 different educational institutions in the US in 2021 alone, Ms Palmer said Ghana was the second highest “sender” of students to the US.

Additionally, the ambassador indicated that Ghana was also among the top 25 countries globally that sent graduate students to the United States.

Consequently, she said, she had already encouraged Ghanaian students to go and study in the United States.

Bond

A Deputy Minister of Education, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, was happy that education had kept the bond between Ghana and the US together over the years.

He noted that the partnership with the US Embassy had been mutual, enabling Ghana to enjoy teaching and learning materials from the US Embassy.