The US Embassy in Accra on Wednesday announced new non-immigrant visa appointment service with effect from March 1, 2011. Under the new system, non-immigrant visa applicants in English Speaking West African countries would pay their application fees at Ecobank branches instead of Standard Chartered Bank and complete their application form (CEAC/DS-160) online.
Mr Michael Evans, Consular Chief at the US Embassy, said the new service system would require non-immigrant visa applicants to schedule appointments through the US Visa Information Service at www.ustraveldocs.com or by calling 233-263011685 which is a call center for further inquiries.
Briefing newsmen, he said the process and fee for US non-immigrant visa application remained the same except that the new system had included a life operator service which would allow applicants to call the US Service Center for more information. Mr Evans assured the public that the new service was now more user-friendly and had sophisticated inputs to prevent fraud or any form of manipulations to protect the integrity of the system. He said the new system had special visa categories which made it easier for the Consulate to know how many visas were given to a particular category daily.
Mr Evans explained that the change of bankers was due to the fact that the new operating contractors of the US Visa application system had an existing contract with Ecobank Ghana and therefore it was important that they honored their agreement with the bank. However, he explained that applicants who had Standard Chartered bank receipts and had already scheduled visa appointments through the current online system should proceed via the current process as they would not be affected by this change.
Mr Evans said applicants who had paid their MRV fee prior to March 1, but had not scheduled an appointment would be given up to April 30 to schedule an appointment or would forfeit it and would have to pay the MRV fee again if they had not scheduled an appointment before the set date. He said the new online visa application system had now become the standard product world-wide for all applicants and urged Ghanaians to educate themselves about the new application process to avoid being duped by middlemen.
Mr Evans said the US Embassy did not have any special contract or ties with anybody or persons, but dealt directly with clients as individuals.