9 Jul 2003

Nauruans upset at tough new US visa requirements

4:04 pm on 9 July 2003

The Nauru High Commission in Suva has expressed concern about new United States visa regulations as they affect its citizens.

Radio Fiji reports that Nauruan citizens, as well as those of Tuvalu and Tonga, are now required to travel to the US Embassy in Suva for an interview by a consular officer before they can be issued visitors visas.

The radio quotes a Nauru High Commission officer in Suva, Narieta Harris, as saying it is too expensive for people to travel all the way to Suva just to be interviewed.

Ms Harris says this is of real concern to Nauruans because it would cost over 500-US just to travel to Suva and the money would be wasted if their visas are rejected.

She says a group of 20 to 50 people travel to the United States around this time every year for church programmes and the new regulation has proved to be a real problem for them.

Ms Harris says as a result, only four from this group would be going to the US this year.

She has questioned the need for the new regulation when the countries affected are already facing financial difficulties.