The United States Embassy in Ghana has specified that recent visa sanctions imposed by its Department of Homeland Security on Ghana will not affect student visa applicants of the West African country
"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," the statement said.
"The lack of adjudication does not mean a visa denial. The application will remain pending until the visa restrictions are lifted, at which point, the visa application will continue to be processed for issuance".
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A : Diplomats and foreign government officials
B-1 : Domestic employees or nannies (must be accompanying a foreign national employer)
B2 : Visitors for medical treatment, Tourists, vacationers and pleasure visitors
G1- G5, NATO : Designated international organisation’s employees and NATO
The restrictions will also limit the validity period and a 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 visa restrictions will not be affected.
"All other consular operations at the U.S. Embassy in Accra 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 (for example, student visas)".
On January 23, 2019, the new US Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan presented her credentials to President Akufo-Addo and began her duties as US Ambassador to Ghana.
In August last year, the US Embassy threatened to impose visa restrictions on Ghanaian citizens.
According to the US, the Ghana government was not complying with international obligations regarding the issuance of travel documents to Ghanaians awaiting deportation in the USA.
US Ambassador Stephanie S. Sullivan
Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) carried out that threat due to lack of cooperation from Ghanaian authorities in accepting their nationals ordered to be removed from the United States.
The DHS also warned that without an appropriate response from Ghana, the scope of these sanctions may be expanded to a wider population.
"Pursuant to her authority under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen notified Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Government of Ghana has denied or unreasonably delayed accepting their nationals ordered removed from the United States.
"As a result, Secretary of State Pompeo has ordered consular officers in Ghana to implement visa restrictions on certain categories of visa applicants".
The sanctions will remain in place until the Secretary of Homeland Security notifies Secretary Pompeo that cooperation on removals has improved to an acceptable level.
“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,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
“The United States routinely cooperates with foreign governments in documenting and accepting U.S. citizens when asked, as appropriate, as do the majority of countries in the world, but Ghana has failed to do so in this case".