Banjul, The Gambia-“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is currently closed to routine Non-Immigrant Visa and American Citizens Services appointments, until further notice.  Emergency U.S. citizens services will continue to be available, such as arrest cases, hospitalizations, crime victims, etc. Emergency services do not include passport renewals, birth and death registrations, or notarial services,” a statement from the United States Embassy in Banjul read.

The Embassy went on to state that it is working towards resolving the situation. “We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, and we hope to re-open appointments sometime around March 20, 2016 (though we cannot guarantee that date).”

For visa applicants, the US Embassy Banjul had this to say: “If your need for services is immediate, please schedule an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in Dakar.  Please note that the wait times for some appointments in Dakar exceed the amount of time that we expect to be closed. We appreciate your patience, and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.”

Upon receiving information about the closure of the US Embassy Banjul Consular section, the Freedom Newspaper contacted the US State Department in Washington DC, for further details.  This medium sent an email to the State Department Press office, and asked them if they could shed light on the circumstances surrounding the closure of the Embassy’s visa section.

Below is the E-mail:

……………………………………

Hi: 

My name is Pa Nderry M’Bai. I am a journalist based in Raleigh, North Carolina. I work with the Freedom Newspaper. 

Can someone at the press office, please help shed light on the following questions:

We received information that the US Embassy in Banjul had closed its Consular Section. The information reads: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is currently closed to routine Non-Immigrant Visa and American Citizens Services appointments, until further notice.” 

What happened? Why is the Consular Section closed? 

The Embassy also said it is working on resolving the problem. Is there any problem between The Gambian government and the US government? When do you expect to reopen the Visa section? 

………………………………………

In response, a State Department official had this to say to our press query:

………………………………………………….

Dear Pa Nderry M’Bai,

The following is attributable to as State Department official on background:

“The U.S. Embassy in Banjul continues to operate.  As noted on the Embassy’s website, the consular section has suspended routine Non-Immigrant Visas (NIV) and American Citizens Services (ACS) appointments until further notice.  Emergency ACS services will still be available. 

We expect routine consular operations to resume on or after March 20, 2016.”

In response, we thanked the State Department Press office for their timely response to our journalistic query.

Join The Conversation