12 Feb 2005

US embassy to Samoa silent on reports it'll issue visas again

8:42 am on 12 February 2005

The United States Embassy in the Samoan capital is declining comment on claims by the Opposition that it will soon issue visas to the US again.

The Opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, said the charge-d'affaires at the US embassy, Timothy Harvey, had told him that having visas issued by the embassy in Apia, was now a priority.

Mr Harvey told him that all the necessary computers and equipment for issuing visas were installed, but there was a worldwide shortage of staff to operate them.

The US stopped issuing visas in Apia as part of a security precautions brought in after the attacks on September 11th, 2001.

Instead Samoans wishing to enter the United States are required to travel to the US embassy in New Zealand to get an entry visa.

Afterwards they are required to return to Samoa before flying to the US if their visa application was successful.

The extra expense has created difficulties for many.