US embassy withdraws private courtesies
Former Presidents and Members of Parliament would have to appear in person to the US consulate before they can access visa to travel to the United States on a private level, US ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson has said.
According to Mr Jackson, the decision is a worldwide policy from the United States government and is not only Ghana specific.
These comments came to light during a meeting with Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament following alleged reports of inhumane treatment of 63 deported Ghanaians.
During the interaction with the Members of Parliament, some of them enquired from the US ambassador on the clarification of protocol officers aiding MPs to help acquire their visas.
The US ambassador explained that “For official travels, the protocol officer passes the passports and visa applications to the Foreign Ministry and they also bring it to our officers. For personal travels, every person is required to make a personal appearance either former Presidents of Ghana have to come in for personal interview.
If a Member of Parliament is also travelling to the US for a personal visit and arranging a protocol, we would be happy to arrange a private appointment with you.” he told Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr Jackson, also stated that last year alone, the embassy issued 17,000 visas to applicants and they would be looking to strengthening the relationship with Ghana.
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Patrick Boamah, indicated that the issues with regards to the inhumane treatment of Ghanaians and requests by MPs to have visa fees slashed would be probed further by government.
Already, 7,000 Ghanaians are facing deportation from the US to Ghana due to numerous factors such as overstaying their visas and engagement in illegal activities.