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Freetown: US Embassy Resumes Visa Service

By  | 19 February 2007 at 23:13 | 644 views

The American embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, has started issuing non-immigrant visas to Sierra Leone residents wishing to travel to the United States.

Non-immigrant visas are granted to people on business trips,or for visits by tourists, students, family members, diplomats and government officials.

Immigrant visas, according to information from the embassy, will continue to be issued in Dakar, Senegal, until the embassy could get a second visa officer by the summer of 2008. Immigrant visas are granted to people who want to live for a longer period of time in the United States.

According to the embassy’s web site, a non-immigrant visa facilitates a temporary stay in the United States for issues like study, temporary work, participation in a conference or exchange program,or for holidays. A non-immigrant visa is thus not appropriate for people who wish to immigrate to the United States.

The length of time a non-immigrant visa holder is permitted to stay in the United States is at the discretion of the immigration officer who processes the visitor at his or her port of entry.

Visitors who wish to extend their stay must formally submit such requests to the Department of Homeland Security before their permitted stay in the United States expired.Non-immigrant visas for Sierra Leone residents were until now issued at the American embassy in Conakry, Guinea. The embassy in Sierra Leone had stopped issuing visas for about ten years due mainly to the civil war in that country.

Photo: Thomas Hull, US ambassador to Sierra Leone.