9 Sep 2008

A temporary US visa office in Nuku'alofa will be strongly supported - Tonga official

1:46 pm on 9 September 2008

Tonga's Foreign Affairs deputy secretary says he expects a deluge of support in the Kingdom for part-time US consular services in Nukualofa.

The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is looking for a building in the Tonga capital from which it can offer non-immigrant visa services.

Currently Tongans have to travel to Suva for interviews for U.S. entry visas.

Tevita Kolokihakaufisi says it is not only expensive for Tongans to have to travel abroad, but some still do not get granted a visa.

Mr Kolokihakaufisi says Tongans travel to the U.S. for a variety of reasons.

"Like funerals, get togethers, religious gatherings and so forth. And so it has been inhibited a lot by having to travel to Suva for interview. And that is an arduous chore."

Tevita Kolokihakaufisi says the temporary facility follows a meeting in May between Tonga's Prime Minister Dr. Feleti Sevele and the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.