Former presidents, high profile officers and Members of Parliament seeking visas for personal travels to the United States will now be required to make personal appearance at the US Embassy to acquire them.
In a meeting with the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Porter Jackson, told the Committee that protocol officers will no longer accompany MPs to the US consulate to acquire visas if they are for private purposes.
He explained: “Now if you are traveling for tourism or for business but is not related to government business, yes you would have to make a personal appearance.”
He added: “For official travel, protocol officer passes the passport and visa applications to the Foreign Ministry and Foreign Ministry protocol officers bring them to us. For personal travels, every person is required to make a personal appearance, even former presidents of Ghana have to come for a personal appearance.”
It will be recalled the British High Commission cited four MPs for visa fraud and resolved only to prioritize request for visas made through the parliamentary protocol office. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, agreed on the need for MPs to make personal appearance at the Embassy because of biometric verification but added her outfit will seek further clarification on the matter.
“It was allowed, [now] but that’s what the regulations, the new directives are so we need to engage them to find out what has necessitated that.” She, however, maintained that the law be respected on a mutually beneficial level. “They are protocols that are reciprocal so if it’s done on a bilateral level, we can agree between the two countries. At the level we won’t require visas, we won’t require bio-data.”
By Pwaberi Denis Wedam
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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