Sources at the Embassy of the United States of America in Freetown have last Friday February 6th 2009, informed Awareness Times that the embassy is "highly impressed" with the steps that have been taken in the last one year by the Ernest Koroma led APC regime to speedily respond to queries from the Embassy insofar as authentication of documents presented by Sierra Leonean visa applicants.
President Koroma:Changing the system one day at a time
According to our sources, the American Vice Consul, Joachim van Brandt is especially impressed with what he has described as the "superb service" that the Embassyís Consular section has been receiving from the Administrator & Registrar Generalís Office of the Ministry of Justice. We are informed that a correspondence was sent a few days ago to the Koroma led Government from the U.S. Embassy in which the Americanís commendation for the last one year was glowing.
Our US embassy sources lament that prior to the appointment by President Koroma of the current Administrator & Registrar General, Lawyer Mariama Seray Kallay, there was a cumbersome delay in the verification process but that in the last one year, under the leadership of Madam Seray Kallay, the verification process is now an exercise in efficiency.
"I thank you for the superb service we have received from your office in the past year. My staff has been able to submit documents to your Registration Officer and receive speedy response. This is in sharp contrast to a previous situation where the verifications often took multiple months. Meanwhile, your fellow citizens languished in limbo, often having to reschedule their life plans as they waited for a response," wrote the Vice-Consul in a correspondence shown to us by US Embassy sources.
The Consular office was referring the fact that the US Embassy has to verify the authenticity of documents presented by Visa applicants. Marriage and divorce certificates as well as conveyances (known as house-book) are among the most common documents presented by visa applicants and all such documents have to be verified by the Administrator and Registrar Generalís Office at the Roxy Building.
Efforts by this writer to contact Madam Seray Kallay herself for comments was futile as at press time yesterday but staff at the Administrator & Registrar Generalís Office confirmed that since Seray Kallay was appointed in February of 2008, she has implemented a series of measures all aimed at streamlining the ease of doing business with her office.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy has last Friday also issued a Press Release which informs that starting this month, interviews for the Diversity Visa applicants will be conducted at the US Embassy here in Freetown although other immigrant visas for now will continue to be processed in neighbouring Senegal. Previously, all immigrant applicants had to travel to neighbouring countries to process their Visa applications.
"The Embassy is aware of the hardships faced by visa applicants who must travel to other countries for their applications and this is the next step in the ongoing process to resume full visa services in Freetown," the Embassy Press Release stated adding that they were working diligently towards resumption of full visa processing operations here in Freetown.
According to the American Embassy, the cooperation and patience of the people of Sierra Leone was appreciated but they also urged all applicants to be truthful in their visa application responses so as to avoid denial of visas.
¬© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.