It is really important to know and understand the powers and limits of the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. How you can proceed with your travel arrangements as a Ghanaian or foreigner. This article will help you answer questions such as:
Who can help you when you get into trouble overseas?
What do you have to do when you want to apply for a visa to travel to the United States?
Where do you go to?
Don’t worry, this article will help you out. We’ll answer almost every question you have on your mind.
Let’s dive in!
What Services Does The U.S. Mission In Ghana Provide?
The U.S. Mission in Ghana has more than 150 U.S. and over 500 non-US nationals as engaged staff. They are employed by its 13 unique governmental departments and agencies. The MISSION was set up to offer the following services:
- To represent citizens of the United States, the US government and the President of the United States and his various policies.
- To defend, safeguard and promote the interests of the United States in activities such as the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens in Ghana.
- To hearten and expedite trade relations between Ghana and the United States.
- To promote and sponsor educational exchanges, and also to counsel students seeking to enroll at U.S. universities.
- To issue visas to travelers who seek to travel to the United States.
- To support Ghana through partnership programs in a number of areas such as agriculture, health, education, economic development, combating terrorism, building democracy and aiding to guarantee regional stability.
Steps To Follow Before Visa Interview At The U.S. Embassy
These are a number of steps you need to follow before your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy
Step 1: Schedule A Medical Exams In Ghana
Immediately you receive the date for your appointment, you need to schedule medical exams in Ghana. Follow the Medical Exam Instructions for information on the list of selected doctor’s offices in Ghana. You need to schedule and attend medical exams with one of these doctors before the date of your interview.
Step 2: Complete Your Pre-Interview Checklist
It is a must to bring the original copies of all documents along with you during the day of your interview. These are pre-Interview Checklists to help you know the documents to go along with. Make sure you print the checklist and include it to any other listed documents to the interview center
Step 3: Review Interview Guidelines
There are Interview Guidelines to learn about any special actions that you need to take before your visa interview.
Items To Bring To Your Medical Examination
You are required to bring the following listed items to your examination:
- Your personal passport
- Visa valid interview letter or printed email
- Three recently taken 2” x 2” (5cm x 5cm) color pictures
- A copy of your immunization records
- DS-260 confirmation page
Note: You are allowed to have at least 14 days to complete the medical examination process, from start to finish. In addition, you must pay all the expenses on your medical examination, including blood test fees, x-ray, and expenses generated as a result of the test done by the physician.
What Happens During The Examination?
The medical interview is a one-time interview. It includes a medical history interview, gonorrhea test, chest X-ray, physical examination, and blood tests (for those applicants who are 15 years of age or older).
Additionally, the examination requires tuberculosis (TB) testing for any applicant who is 2 years of age or older. To fully pass the examination, you have to prepare yourself to discuss your medical history, medications you are taking, and or any current treatments you are going through.
The United States immigration law expects immigrant visa applicants to get certain vaccinations before the issuance of a visa.
You need to be aware of the immigrant visa vaccination requirements. Additionally, you can read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to know more about the medical examination requirements online.
What Happens After The Medical Examination?
When you are done with your examination, the doctor will send the medical report directly to the United States Embassy. However, if you did take an X-Ray, that will be given to you.
You are not required to go to the Embassy (interview area) with the X-Rays except you suffer tuberculosis (TB). Remember to carry the X-Rays with you when traveling to the United States for the first time.
Note: the medical report you do submit needs to be less than six months old when you enter the United States as an immigrant.
What Items do I Need to go to the Interview with?
- Go with both your original birth certificate and a photocopied format
- Go with original or signed copies of birth certificates for all children of the main applicant
- Include a confirmation page from the Form DS-260 Application for an Immigrant Visa you submitted online
- Include two 2” X 2” (5cm X 5cm) color passport size pictures of each individual applying for a visa.
- A copy of your NVC interview letter (this does not relate to Diversity Visa, adoptive, fiancé(e), asylum, or refugee applicants)
- Unexpired passport legal for a period of six months, further than your proposed date of entry to the United States and a photocopy of the biographic page (where your name and photo are located)
Note: Any document that is not in English need to be supplemented with a certified English translation
Documents for Family-Based Visa Applications:
- Proof of the connection between the petitioner and the visa applicant (such as letters, pictures, and emails)
- Evidence of your United States petitioner’s status and domicile in the U.S. (such as naturalization certificate, photocopy of U.S. passport, or a lawful permanent resident card)
- The right Form I-864 Affidavit of Support for each financial sponsor together with a photocopy of the sponsor’s IRS transcript or most current U.S. federal income tax return, and any applicable W-2s
- If you are married, go with the original marriage certificate and a photocopy
- If you were previously married but divorced, go with the original divorce or spouse’s death certificate, and a photocopied format of the certificate
- If you are older than 16 years of age, go with the original police certificate from your country of recent residence, any country you’ve lived in for more than 12 months, and any country where you have been arrested before.
If these three items are true, you must include a more current police certificate to the interview:
- To prove that you are older than 16 years
- To prove that you obtained a police certificate and submitted it to NVC way before one year
- To prove that you still reside in the nation that issued the police certificate
Documents For Employment-Based Application
- A letter from your U.S. employer with a date of less than one month
- Include court and criminal records, with a photocopy if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime
- Include Military records with a photocopy if you’ve ever served in any country’s Military
- Include adoption papers or custody documents with a photocopy if you’ve ever been adopted before or you were adopted.
- If you are the petitioner’s stepchild, add the original marriage certificate of the petitioner and that of your biological parents, with a photocopied format, alongside divorce records for any past marriage of either parent.
Interview Guidelines For Visa Applications
Sending Documents To The U.S. Embassy
In situations where the U.S. Embassy requests any additional documents or information, the consular officer will provide guidelines or instructions on how these documents should be submitted after your interview.
Rescheduling or Cancelling Your Interview
It is important to email the Embassy (as soon as possible) if you think that you can’t attend the appointment.
You may be asked to wait a very long time for the next appointment so do everything possible to attend the interview on the first assigned date.
For family-based and employment-based visa categories, a visa can be approved within the month you have been scheduled by the NVC.
However, DV applicants must note that visas are numerically limited, therefore will be issued by September 30 of the program year.
Note: there is no assurance that a visa will still be issued on the date of your scheduled interview. Before you reschedule your interview, make sure you consult the Visa Bulletin before you reschedule your interview.
Security Screening Process
All guests who want to visit the U.S. Embassy in Accra must be ready to follow certain security measures.
All visitors who decline screening by the U.S. Embassy security personnel will not by any means be allowed to enter the Embassy.
In order not to delay your entry and that of those in line behind you, just come along with only the documents that are required for your interview.
Accompanying Persons To The Embassy
The following list of persons can accompany a visa applicant to their interview:
- Applicants can come along with an interpreter if they do not speak English well enough so they can participate in the interview.
- Applicants can come along with an individual to help them with the interview if they are elderly, minor child, or disabled.
- Applicants who are below 14 years of age must come along with an adult bearing government-issued photo identification – such as driver’s license, Ghana card, or ECOWAS card.
Note: The Embassy does not accept Ghanaian voter’s identification or health insurance cards for this purpose. Additionally, Attorneys are not permitted to come along with their client to the waiting room or interview area.
Immigrant Visa Fees
You should be prepared to pay all required fees on the day of your Interview if you’ve not settled it to the National Visa Center. All fees are expected to be paid in cash, in U.S. dollars, or Ghanaian Cedis.
Note: if you are found illegible and your application rejected, your application fee will not be refunded to you. Learn more about the list of fees you need to pay before you move on to the next stage.
Do I Have To Make Travel Arrangements Outside of Ghana?
When your visa is approved, the Embassy will keep your passport with them while they prepare your immigration packet and print a visa for your passport.
You will be told by the consular officer when and how to pick up your passport and visa. In case you have to visit a certain place in Ghana while your passport is still with the Embassy, you are advised to have a valid picture ID instead.
What’s Next After My Visa Interview?
After your visa interview, the consular officer will make a decision on your application after reviewing your formal application in addition to your interview.
Note that there is no guarantee that you will receive a visa after the interview. So do not sell your house, car, or any property, leave your job or make a non-refundable flight or any other travel plans until you have received your immigrant visa.
What Happens If More Information Is Needed?
In some situations, a consular may not be able to decide on a visa application and may require to review additional documents in order to make a final decision on the application.
Normally, when the consular officer needs additional documents, he will give you a refusal letter that will ask you to submit additional documents.
The letter will have in it the instructions on how you are supposed to send these documents to the Embassy. Note that Administrative processing takes a little bit of time after the interview.
Most of them are usually resolved within 60 days. Nevertheless, the timing may vary based on the conditions and circumstances of each case.
So wait for a period of 60 days after the interview before inquiring about the status of administrative processing.
What Happens After Visa Approval?
Passport, Visa, and Sealed Immigrant Packet
The Embassy will place your immigrant on a page in your passport. You are required to review your visa to make sure that there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
In some cases, some visa holders will be given a sealed envelope containing documents that they will be asked to give to the U.S. immigration authorities when they arrive in the United States for the first time.
Don’t try to open the envelope. You must carry it with you wherever you go. Never put it in your checked luggage. If you were given an X-Ray during your medical examination, make sure to carry them along with you so you can give them to the US immigration authorities.
When Should I Travel To The United States?
You need to do everything possible to enter the United States afore the expiration date on your visa. That is generally a six months period from the issuance of the medical report.
Keep in mind that the visa expiration date cannot be extended and all fees paid are not refundable. The main applicant has to enter the country before or at the exact time as other family members with visas will want to enter the country.
Except they are qualified for benefits under the Child Status Protection Act. The Act states that “children who are issued a visa before turning 21 years of age must enter the United States before their 21st birthday to avoid losing their immigrant status.”
How Do I Get My Green Card?
Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card, also identified as the green card will spontaneously be mailed to the address in the United States that you wrote in your visa application form.
Take good care of this form because it is that which will let you remain in the United States. It will prove that you have permission to reside in the United States.
We suggest that you check with your airline to ensure you are in compliance with their rules and guidelines.
As soon as you receive your card, you should plan not to stay outside of the United States for more than a year. If you do, you are in line to lose your status as a Lawful Permanent Resident.
Issues Regarding Children’s Schooling In the United States
In the United States, children are required to have certain vaccinations before they can get the opportunity to enroll in school.
The Embassy recommends that you take your child’s complete vaccination records with you to the United States.
In case your child is adopted, you will have full custody as a result of a divorce, or you will share custody with another parent.
Make sure you carry a copy of all appropriate adoption or custodial papers from the authoritative court in your home country.
You will need these documents – translated into English – for issues such as medical care, school enrollment, and finally citizenship.
Additional Information For Diversity Visa Applicants
All the above instructions apply to you if you are being interviewed for a Diversity Visa (DV). Arrange and attend a medical examination before your visa interview, and include all required documents.
What Other Documents Do I Have To Bring To The Interview?
In addition to all the necessary documents listed on the Pre-Interview Checklist, all DV applicants should include the following items to their visa interview:
- An appointment letter printed from the “Entrant Status Check” on the E-DV website.
- Documents to show that you have either qualified for a high school education or have qualified for two years of work experience in the five years before the application – this applies to the principal applicant only, more information can be found online
- You are required to pay an amount of $330 (Diversity Visa Application Fee) in cash for each applicant
Note: this applies only to Diversity Visa (DV) Applicants
Security Regulations At The US.. Embassy
You will not be permitted to enter the U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you carry any of the following items:
- Weapons or explosive objects of any kind
- Sharp materials such as penknives, scissors, or nail files
- Cigarettes, matchboxes, cigars, lighters
- Enclosed envelopes or sealed packages
- Food items – refreshments can be purchased at the waiting area.
- Bags such as briefcases, travel bags, backpacks, leather, suitcases, zip folders and cloth bags. You can only carry along with you plastic bags containing application-related papers
- Large shoulder bags or purses. You can only come along with bags that can be carried by hand
- Battery operated or electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, digital watches, pagers, digital diaries, cameras, compact disc, floppy discs, audio or video cassettes, MP3s, portable music players or laptops.
Note: this list is not complete. Other items may be prohibited at the security staff’s own discretion. There is no facility in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to keep any of these prohibited items. You must therefore make arrangements to store these items elsewhere before entering the Embassy or Consulate.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Can I Apply For U.S. Citizenship?
You can acquire U.S. citizenship either by birth or through naturalization subsequent to birth. Individuals who are born outside the U.S. but want to acquire U.S. citizenship can do so under certain conditions. You can visit the Department of State for information on the Acquisition of U.S. Citizenship to know more about this question.
How Can I Renounce Citizenship?
The United States of America does not take it lightly when a citizen decides to renounce his or her citizenship.
It is a serious matter that has to carefully be thought through before proceeding with the necessary requirements.
It is important that you fully grasp and understand the nature of its consequences before requesting a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.
The act is irrevocable and if you decide that this is the course of action you desire to take, there are a number of steps to pursue which include arranging an appointment to visit the Embassy to sign the Loss of Citizenship documentation in full view of a Consular Officer.
It is however important to restate that the Statement of Understanding explicitly states that this cause of action is irrevocable.
You can send an email to the consulate to schedule an appointment to proceed with your renouncement.
Note: Expatriation is an individual right and can by no means be exercised by another person or persons (including parents or legal guardians)
How Can I Contact The Consular?
The Consulate Section is particular dedicated to communicating with all of its stakeholders. Due to this reason, their communication route is fast and courteous.
Once you send in your email, you will receive an automatic response which confirms that your inquiry has been well received.
This will include frequently asked questions and their answers. In situations where you do not receive a response, be aware that your email did not go through.
You can send your email to the following listed addresses:
- Support: [email protected].
- Adoptions: [email protected].
- American Citizen Services: [email protected].
You can also contact the Consular Section by Mail. These are the address to use when you want to contact them either from the United States or Ghana.
1. From The United States
2020 Accra Place
Washington, D.C. 20189-2020
2. From Ghana
P.O. Box 194
Greater Accra, Ghana
Note: the Embassy will normally respond to written inquiries within five business days. Never send personal documents such as marriage certificates, bank statements, etc. to the Embassy. The Embassy does not return documents received in the mail and therefore cannot take responsibility for those sensitive documents.
Do I Have To Make An Appointment?
Yes, you require an appointment for all non-emergency services
Can I Make an Appointment Over The Phone?
No. Applicants cannot make an appointment over the phone. They can only make an appointment through the Embassy’s online appointment portal.
What Should I Do If There Are No Appointment Available?
Just keep checking the Embassy’s website on a daily basis. The Embassy usually opens appointment slots a month or more in advance. Additionally, the Embassy has cancellations all the time, and cancellations will be redirected to the system throughout the day.
What Will Happen To My Application If I Don’t Print A Copy of My Appointment Confirmation Page?
You will still be allowed into the Embassy without your appointment confirmation page printed out. However, your check-in time might slightly change.
Can A U.S. Citizen or A Visitor Walk Into A U.S. Embassy or Consulate Just To See What’s Inside?
In line with security reflections, there is no information window for walk-in visitors at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Only visa applicants with scheduled interview appointments are allowed to enter the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
These are mind-boggling questions as a new traveler or a resident in a foreign country. But you’re in safe hands if you have taken the time to go through this piece. Enjoy your travel and stay safe.
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