Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe, the chief spokesman for the George Manneh Weah led government says, following a visit to the embassy Monday of a delegation from the administration, the US embassy has offered some clarity to the government regarding the suspension of non-immigrant visa services in Liberia.
Speaking to FrontPageAfrica, Mr. Nagbe, the Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism explained: “After a government delegation met with US embassy officials this evening, we are satisfied with the explanation given and we look forward to the embassy resolving its internal issues so that visa services can resume.”
Following the meeting with the Liberian official, the embassy has now revised its notice of suspension on its website, to state:
“The embassy is temporarily suspending its non-immigration visa operations while we make necessary updates. This temporary suspension does not reflect a change in US visa policy in Liberia. All appointments will be rescheduled through our online appointment system. We regret the inconvenience this temporary suspension causes to applicants. The embassy will continue to provide American Citizen Services and limited immigration visa services during this period.”
The US embassy notice Monday sent shivers down the spine of many Liberians who visit friends, families and loved ones for school and vacation.
The embassy’s previous statement noted that previously scheduled NIV appointments have been canceled. We regret there are no slots available for rescheduling at the moment. “For applicants who previously made NIV appointments: We will reschedule all applicants through our online appointment system as soon as possible; you will receive further notification from us at that time. For applicants who wish to make new NIV appointments: We will update this page when we are able to schedule new appointments.
The Embassy will continue to provide American Citizen Services and limited Immigrant Visa services during this period. We regret the inconvenience this temporary suspension causes to Liberian applicants.”
While it is unclear whether the move is timed to the upcoming December 30 protest in Liberia, the US State Department website states that U.S. Embassies and Consulates are sometimes forced to limit or at times suspend visa services because of natural disasters, civil unrest, war and/or security concerns, among other reasons.
According to the US State Department, the following U.S. Embassies and Consulates have suspended visa services because of natural disasters, civil unrest, war, security concerns, and/or other reasons. They do not include U.S. Embassies and Consulates closed for holidays or where visa services are not being provided for a limited number of days.
In Belarus, Minsk, full visa services are suspended until further notice, but the embassy in Minsk does process non-immigrant visa applications for the following limited categories: A visas for diplomats and government officials; G visas for employees and representatives to international organizations; B visas for relatives of Belarusian diplomats serving at Belarusian diplomatic missions in the United States; visas for family and medical emergencies requiring urgent travel; visas for U.S. Government-sponsored travel and programs; and visas for senior citizens, 70 years of age and older.
In Tripoli, Libya, all visa services suspended and in Portugal, Ponta Delgada, U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada no longer provides visa services although the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon continue to provide full nonimmigrant visa services for applicants.
In Syria, Damascus, Venezuela and Yemen, Sana’a, all visa services at U.S. Embassy Damascus are suspended.
The revised statement from the US embassy suggest that Liberians looking to travel to the US may not have to worry about a change in US policy, at least, according to the embassy, temporarily.