Ex-Presidents, MPs, Ministers To Queue For Visas – US Ambassador

The government of the United States of America (USA) has withdrawn diplomatic courtesies to Ghana's former Presidents and Members of Parliament (MPs).

With the decision, the affected persons would have to be at the US Embassy in person to acquire their visas when on private trips or alternatively schedule private arrangement with the embassy for their visas.
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Robert Jackson, made this known in Accra Thursday when he met Parliament's select Committee on Foreign Affairs.

"For personal travels, every person is required to make a personal appearance. So there are no excerptions," Mr. Jackson said.

However, he did not give a reason for the decision in the presence of the media.

Hitherto, Protocol Officers at the Foreign Affairs Ministry secured visas for the traveling state officials but that arrangement had been reviewed.

A letter to that effect dated November 21, 2016, reads: "Pursuant to worldwide guidance from the U.S Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, protocol officers will no longer be allowed inside the consular waiting area to accompany visa applicants.

"Protocol officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration will [only] be allowed into the consular waiting area in order to deliver and pick up passports and documents," the letter read.

The Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Patrick Yaw Boamah told journalists they, the legislators, would engage the US embassy to review the decision.

He said it was unfair for former Presidents to be at the embassy to acquire their visas to embark on private trips.

In another development, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, told journalists that she would study the details of the decision.

She said based on her findings, the government would engage the US government to relax the decision.