HAS THE US IMPOSED A BAN ON ISSUING VISAS TO GAMBIA GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND THEIR FAMILIES?

QUESTION OF THE DAY                 

HAS THE US IMPOSED A BAN ON ISSUING VISAS TO GAMBIA GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND THEIR FAMILIES?

On 3 October 2016, the Embassy of the United States did issue a press release indicating that:

 “As of October 3, 2016, the United States Embassy in Banjul, The Gambia has discontinued issuing visas to Gambian government officials, others associated with the government, and their families. 

 Why is this?  There are a number of Gambians in the United States who are under final deportation orders.  Some of them are in detention. These Gambian citizens have all been afforded full access to the U.S. legal system but have exhausted all possible legal appeals.  We want to return them to their families in The Gambia, but the Gambian government must provide passports or other travel documents so that we can do so.  Until travel documents are issued for Gambians ordered deported from the U.S., we are unable to issue visas for Gambian government officials, except in limited circumstances. 

We hope that travel documents for Gambians under deportation orders in the U.S. will be provided soon so that these Gambians can return home and U.S. Embassy Banjul can resume issuing all categories of visas.

 Consular operations at the U.S. Embassy in Banjul remain open.  Visa operations will be conducted as usual, with the exception of cases in government and government-related categories that cannot be issued until restrictions have been lifted.”