Sierra Leone Telegraph: 31 March 2021:
The United States Embassy in Freetown, yesterday issued a public notice informing that the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has ordered the reduction of visa sanctions on Sierra Leone, in recognition of the Government of Sierra Leone’s increased assistance in facilitating the timely return home of its nationals who are subject to final orders of removal from the United States.
“I am pleased to announce this reduction in sanctions,” stated newly arrived Ambassador David Reimer.
“The abiding friendship between our nations is built on ties of family, culture, and mutual respect, as well as political and economic exchange. We recognize and appreciate the Government of Sierra Leone’s improvements on removals issues and trust that the government will continue to work with us in establishing a mutually-agreeable process for accepting Sierra Leonean nationals subject to final orders of removal from the United States,” Ambassador Reimer said.
The statement go on to say that – “Effective March 31, the U.S. Embassy in Freetown will resume issuing all immigrant and most nonimmigrant visas to qualified Sierra Leoneans. Under Section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) visa restrictions will continue to apply to B1, B2, and B1/B2 nonimmigrant visas for Sierra Leonean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MFAIC) officials and immigration officials until the Secretary of Homeland Security has determined that 243(d) visa restrictions are no longer merited and so informs the Secretary of State.”
In September last year, the United States of America stopped issuing visas to Sierra Leonean nationals, after the government of Sierra Leone reneged on an agreement to allow Sierra Leoneans deported by the USA to return to Sierra Leone.
In 2017, both the governments of the USA and Sierra Leone entered into a repatriation agreement, whereby the government of Sierra Leone will issue travel documents to Sierra Leonean nationals that have been declared ‘persona non grata’ by the US government to return to Sierra Leone.