Mr. Editor, one of the people that follow freedom radio online wrote to you asking you to investigate instances of visa refusals to Gambians by the U.S Embassy in Banjul. According to the story, the information came from the U.S Embassy stating that there is a visa quota placed on the Gambia and hence the frequent visa refusals. I want to categorically state that there is no scintilla of evidence to suggest that Gambian U.S visa aspirants have been blocked due to the so-called quota. As far as I know, visa quotas affect certain family based immigrant visa petitions to the U.S because they are limited to the number of visas to be issued each year. This does not affect non immigrant visa (B1, B2) which the writer is referring to.

It is important to add that anyone applying for a visa to any country must have clear and convincing proof that they intend to return to their country and that they will not be a public charge to the country they intend to visit. To say that a visa applicant has a U.K visa that will expire in 2022 is not a requirement to secure a U.S visa. The U.S State Department has a standard visa eligibility criteria and these could be different from the U.K government requirements. The persons that had the U.K visa on their passports must have presented solid evidence when they applied for it but on the other hand, failed to convince the U.S Consular to issue them a United States visitor visa.  Perhaps the Gambian family that were denied the U.S visa should share their denial letter and that will shed light why the visa was not issued. Just for the writer to insinuate that there might be visa restrictions on Gambian applicants is seriously incorrect.

In addition, I do not seem to see a connection between any pronouncements made by the State Department last year regarding non-issuance of U.S visas to the then Jammeh government officials and the case of just a few people being refused U.S visas. The impasse that happened between Yahya Jammeh’s government and the U.S State Department regarding Gambians placed on removal proceedings should not deter any potential visa applicant from the Gambia. That matter was between the two governments and has nothing to do with the Gambian people so we should be careful where to draw the distinction.

Mr. Editor, I think the writer is tasking you to do the impossible because I do not see how the U.S Embassy in Banjul will comment on an individual visa case. I do not even see any reason why you should investigate something like that because there are protocols to follow in visa denials and I believe the applicants are free to try again once they have additional information that could convince the Consular to grant a nonimmigrant visa.

Written by Ebou Ngum – Everett Washington.

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