The United States ambassador in Ghana, Robert Jackson, has flatly rejected calls for a refund of fees to applicants who are unsuccessful in applying for visas.
The issue of embassies having to refund at least a portion of visa fees to failed applicants has become topical in the West African country. A civil society group, the Consumer Protection Agency( CPA) has been leading the calls.
But the US Ambassador told local news portal, citifmonline, that his outfit will not refund fees to failed applicants because the payment was for a service that the Embassy renders only that for some reasons the applicant fails.
“When people apply for a visa, they are applying for a service, they are paying for an interview. People do not get the visas and often it is because they do not provide inaccurate information or misrepresentations.
“We make every effort to ensure that Ghanaians get the opportunity to travel to the United States for legitimate reasons,” he explained.
He went ahead to explain what the application fees takes care of, “The fee actually serves two purposes; it covers the cost of interviewing and processing the visas. It also discourages people who are not qualified from applying and that is just the reality of the situation….a refund is a no, there will be no refund.”
The US Embassy in Ghana issues over 10,000 visas annually. Its main offices is located in the plush Cantonments area of the capital, Accra. On days of scheduled visa interviews, there are lots of people seen around either coming for interviews or waiting for relatives who are to be interviewed.
In December 2016, there was a report of a US Embassy that was operating for over a decade in the country and which was issuing genuine visas to travelers. It was closed down after a joint security swoop by Ghanaian officials and their US counterparts.