This follows what many people describe as unjustifiable reason(s) normally given by the Consular Officers after refusing their clients the opportunity of traveling to the U.S.A.
News Ghana’s intelligence at the Embassy also indicates that the attitude of some staff is that of hostility towards prospective travellers.
Painstaking investigations conducted by News Ghana over the past month indicates that the U.S Embassy here in Accra have been issuing out the same reason for denying the various non-immigrant applicants visas even though each of them presents their own unique cases.
The US Embassy on Thursday July 20, 2017 denied a journalist with News Ghana who has been offered the Donald T. Sheehan funding opportunity by one of the reputable institutions in the U.S.A, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to participate in a seminar for Business Journalists.
The Consular Officer after asking two questions “Why are you going to Wharton” and “Which countries have you travelled to outside Ghana” then said, “I’m sorry you do not qualify under US Immigration laws to travel to the States.”
It must be stated in unequivocal terms that the Consular Officer did not find it prudent to examine not even a single copy of the many documents vis-à-vis the invitation letter from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Employers’ Letter, marriage certificate and others in the possession of the media personnel.
In a spate of less than three minutes, the Consular Officer issued a letter to the journalist in question which read, “This is to inform you that you have been found ineligible for a non-immigrant visa under Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act. A denial under Section 214(b) means that you were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the non-immigrant visa for which you applied.
While non-immigrant visa classifications each have their own unique requirements, one requirement shared by many of the non-immigrant visa categories is for the applicant to demonstrate that he/she has a residence in a foreign country which he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants usually meet this requirement by demonstrating that they have strong ties overseas that indicate that they will return to a foreign country after a temporary visit to the United States.
Such ties include professional, work, school, family, or social links to a foreign country. You have not demonstrated that you have ties that will compel you to return to your home country after your travel to the United States.”
The letter from the US Embassy further stated, “Today’s decision cannot be appealed. However, you may re-apply at any time. If you decide to reapply, you must submit a new application form and photo, pay the visa application fee again, and make a new appointment to be interviewed by a Consular Officer. If you choose to reapply, you should be prepared to provide information that was not presented in your original application, or to demonstrate that your circumstances have changed since that application.”
Section 214(b) of the U.S Immigration and Nationality Act states, “Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the Consular Officer at the time of application for a visa…that he is entitled to non-immigrant status.”
In as much as this provision is clearly stated in U.S. laws, our investigations has established that most of the Consular Officers do not allow the visa applicants an opportunity to explain themselves as decisions about applicants have already taken even before they appeared in persons.
Many others who had been denied visas before by the US Embassy here expressed their anger at the high level of exploitation of Ghanaians by the Americans while the government here sat unconcerned.
The editor of News Ghana and other Journalists where equally denied visa last year when they applied to attend conferences.
Dorothy Akuamoah Boateng, a victim of US visa refusal who spoke to New Ghana said, “The visa fee charged by the US Embassy is too much and what makes it most annoying is they do not refund it when you are refused their visa. I will urge our government to be bold and pay the Americans in their own coin.”
A Ghanaian teacher who had been offered admission to pursue a graduate degree program but was also denied the US visa said, “I think it is high time our government applies the principle of reciprocity in its dealings with this US people.
The same was said about the UK embassy but recent reports indicate a vast improvement in their Visa approval. Upon all the huge fees charged by the US consulate, prospective candidates have to queue inside and outside is the order of the day. Meanwhile, they have such a big edifice which can at least provide a seating area for visa applicants.
Is that the same treatment they get subjected to anytime they apply for Ghanaian Visas? Why can’t they show us a little respect in our own country? This treatment is so unacceptable and something needs to be done fast about it before the unexpected happens.
A team of News Ghana journalists are on the ground monitoring the way visa applicants are unfairly treated by the US Embassy and will in the coming weeks bring it to the attention of relevant Ghanaian authorities and the public.