US Embassy unveils five-year visa validity
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
The US Embassy in Banjul has unveiled a longer validity visa of up to five years for eligible Gambian applicants.
"US State Department, in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security, will now issue B1/B2 'tourist' visas valid for up to five years at a time, a dramatic increase. Currently, Gambians may only qualify for a visa valid for up to two years," a press release from the US Banjul Embassy stated.
However, the release drew a difference between a visa validity and the length of stay granted to visitors to the US.
"The length of stay granted by the US Department of Homeland Security to travellers will remain the same, despite the change in visa length. Most travellers are granted up to six months in the United States, although the understanding is that most travellers will depart the United States within a few weeks of arrival, as they originally stated in their visa applications."
The US Embassy noted this latest development will allow qualified applicants to travel to the United States without having to renew their visas frequently.
"This will reduce the costs to Gambian travellers, as they will have to pay fewer visa application fees and will save time in going through interviews at the embassy. It will also reduce the workload on US Embassy staff, allowing them to devote more time to first-time applicants," the release stated.
Similarly, American citizens will now be eligible for five years validity tourist visas to The Gambia, which should help in boosting the tourism sector, according to the embassy.