Consular Alert - June 16, 2015
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with its visa systems. This issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability.
Currently, we are unable to print most immigrant and nonimmigrant visas approved after June 8, 2015. In addition, U.S. embassies and consulates are unable to process new applications submitted on or after June 9, 2015. Individuals with visa interview appointments scheduled for June 14-20, 2015, should reschedule their appointments if they submitted a DS-160 online application after June 9, 2015. Appointments can be rescheduled by following the instructions located on: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sl/index.html?firstTime=No
Individuals who submitted their DS-160 online applications prior to June 9, 2015, should plan to attend their scheduled visa interview appointments. Those with urgent travel should follow the instructions for expedited emergency appointment found on: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/sl/sl-niv-expeditedappointment.asp
The technical issues also affected the Department of State’s ability to adjudicate applications for U.S. passports accepted overseas between May 26 and June 14, 2015. If you applied for a U.S. passport overseas during this time frame and have travel plans within the next 10 business days, please consider requesting an emergency passport at the U.S. embassy or consulate at which you originally applied. Information about how to apply for an emergency passport is available at the following:
Embassy Freetown has expanded its visa services in May, 2009 to include all visa types. It currently offers the following visa services:
Nonimmigrant Visas: Visas for temporary travelers to the United States. The most common examples are visitors for business, pleasure, study, exchange, and official government business. As of April 13, 2012, the cost of a nonimmigrant visa application is now $160 for non-petition based visas (e.g. B1/B2, F, J, etc.) and $190 for petition based visas (H,L,O,P,Q and R). In addition, as of September 1, 2010, only DS-160 forms will be accepted for nonimmigrant visa applications. The previous forms (DS-156 and DS-157) will no longer be accepted per U.S. Consular policy.
Sierra Leonean visitors traveling to the United States are required to be in possession of passports that are valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay in the U.S.
Immigrant Visas: Visas for people who intend to live in the United States permanently. Upon entry to the U.S., Immigrant Visa holders will receive Lawful Permanent Resident status, known as a "green card." All Sierra Leonean immigrant visa cases held at this Embassy in May 1997 were sent to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire. The Embassy no longer has files on these cases. Please address all questions concerning them to the National Visa Center (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Diversity Visas: Commonly known as the DV Lottery or green Card lottery, the Diversity Visa is a special type of Immigrant Visa where the right to an interview is determined by lottery instead of petition.
Do not wait until the last minute! Inform yourself on visa application requirements and apply for your visa at least several weeks in advance of your planned travel dates. Everyone applying for a visa, including applicants renewing a visa, is required to appear in person at the U.S. Embassy.
Please Click Here to check the status of your immigrant visa (IV) or nonimmigrant visa (NIV) application. In order to check the status of your visa, you will need to change the Visa Application Type to IMMIGRANT VISA (IV) or NONIMMIGRANT VISA (NIV), select SIERRA LEONE, FREETOWN as your location and enter your Application ID or Case Number.
For more information on visas to the United States, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html