30 Aug 2003

US ambassador to Samoa to intercede in visa interview row

9:12 am on 30 August 2003

The United States Ambassador to Samoa, Charles Swindell says he will look into a new policy demanding that applicants for US visas be interviewed in New Zealand.

Travellers to the US are complaining about the requirement which came into effect August 1 saying it's inconvenient.

At the opening of the new US Chancery offices in Apia, the Prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele appealed to Ambassador Swindell to reconsider the policy.

He said the reqirement was a financial burden to Samoan citizens who must pay at least 2-thousand dollars to travel to Auckland for an interview.

And Tuileape says even after doing that they may not be guaranteed a visa.

Ambassador Swindell assured the Prime Minister that he was going to raise the issue with US authorities.

The new policy was imposed as a security measure after the September 11 attacks.