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US government lifts visa restrictions on Ghana Ministers, MPs and their families

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The United States government has announced the removal of visa restrictions placed on top Ghana government officials such as Ministers of State and Members of Parliament following reaching an agreement on the matter in contention.

In a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, today January 16, 2019, it says the United States has lifted the visa restrictions applied under Section 243(d) of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.  As of Friday, January 17, 2020, visa processing will return to the normal procedures, it said.

In February 2019, the US government imposed the visa restrictions on Ghana government officials such as Ministers of State and Members of Parliament, over a long-standing issue between the two countries. The decision by the US government is as a result of the failure of the Ghana government to accept into the country Ghanaian nationals removed from the US for various immigration offences, chief among them, for overstaying their visas. It was the third time the US government was using Section 243(d) of the immigration code to force other governments to act in the matter of receiving their citizens who have been removed from the US.

According to the release, the validity period and 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 will revert to receiving the normal validity, based on reciprocity, which is currently five years with multiple entries.  All pending non-immigrant visas (NIV) to domestic employees (A3 and G5) of Ghanaian diplomats posted in the United States that were received during the visa restrictions will now be processed.

“This follows the establishment of a mutually agreed process for the identification, validating and issuance of travel documentation to Ghanaian citizens under final orders of removal in a manner consistent with international standards issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization, of which Ghana is a Member State,” the release added.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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