United States suspends issuing visa to Sierra Leoneans

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 September 2020:

The United States of America has 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.

The governments of the USA and Sierra Leone in 2017 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.

It is not clear whether the US government has made cash payment to the government of Sierra Leone in return for receiving and rehabilitating or resettling those deported to Sierra Leone by the US government, as such matters are usually not made public.

What is clear is that the US government usually charters flights that take deportees back to Sierra Leone, accompanied by armed US marshals.

But this arrangement came under immense strain a few months ago, when two deportees arriving in Sierra Leone claimed they were forced to go to Sierra Leone despite protesting to the US government that they are not Sierra Leonean nationals but Caribbeans.

The US government denied responsibility for that fiasco, instead blaming the government of Sierra Leone whose responsibility the US government says it is to check the nationality of all deportees before issuing them with travel documents to Sierra Leone.

The argument between the two governments over the repatriation of Sierra Leoneans from the USA ,and the government of Sierra Leone’s role in facilitating the process, came to a head a few weeks ago when the government of Sierra Leone stopped issuing travel documents to deportees.

In response, the US government slapped a ban on Sierra Leoneans travelling to the USA with a Sierra Leonean passport, bringing to a complete and devastating halt the possibility of Sierra Leoneans being able to obtain US visas.

But some policy analysts believe that this sudden decision by the US government may not be unconnected to the private visit to Hezbollah controlled Lebanon four weeks ago by the president of Sierra Leone – Julius Maada Bio, where it is alleged he met, dined and discussed investment opportunities with some of the most powerful and rich Lebanese  tycoons, whom the US government frown upon as ‘unsavoury characters’ – involved in arms dealing and international money laundering.

The US Ambassador to Sierra Leone – Maria Brewer, was speaking on local radio 98.1 FM yesterday about the US government’s decision to suspend issuing visas to Sierra Leoneans. This is what she said:

Mustapha Wai – brother of Sierra Leone Ambassador to the USA – Sidiqi Wai, has also been speaking about the Sierra Leone – USA visa saga. This is what he said:

So, what is the government of Sierra Leone’s position on this issue? Early this week, the Sierra Leone minister of foreign affairs issued this statement:


  1. How far has the Government gone with this sanction? It is close to four months, and I guess the Government knows that a lot of people’s lives depend on this. The Government should take a quick action towards this issue. Thank You

  2. Madam Gloria, it could be much accountable if you have stated your full name, then I would have known you are someone of a FAIR and BALANCED mind. You must have misread or misunderstood my post. For that I forgive you. I started my post by feeling sorry for my people of Sierra Leone that they are the scape goats caught up between the spate of both countries. So for you to say the least of otherwise is wrong. Secondly, you cannot accuse the president of selling Sierra Leone passports to criminals or anyone NOT A SIERRA LEONEAN, without evidence. Whenever I ACCUSE ANY ONE OF ANY WRONG DOING,LET ALONE CRIMES, be rest assured that there are EVIDENCE AND FACTS to boost up my accusations, because I FEAR GOD. I hope next time you can state your full and legal NAME and be able to OWN UP to YOUR POST RESPONSIBLY. Thank you Madam Gloria. I hope to continue a constructive, respectful and truthful chat.

  3. Many thanks to the government of Sierra Leone through their ministry of Foreign Affairs for her excellent and timely response to the United States of America Visa Sanction on her country. We hope they do all they can to negotiate with the US Government to lift this sanction in the soonest possible time and try to put strong measures in place of their passport issuance system.

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