Sierra Leone Immigration Department has started issuing landing visa in Freetown with security conditions attached, Mr. Alusine Joaque, Director of Administration and Finance at the Immigration Department said in an interview in his office on March 21.
The department stopped issuing landing visas for more than a month over terrorist threats in the sub-region.
“Interpol has to issue clearance to ascertain the background of the person travelling. After the background clearance, the host is invited to an interview with the Chief Immigration Officer, Mr. Alpha Kholifa Koroma to establish the suitability and capability of the host to take care of the migrant or person travelling,” Mr. Joaque said. “If the applicant convinces the Chief Immigration Officer, then a landing visa is issued.”
The first set of interviews was done on March 18 and those who made it in the interview were issued landing visas yesterday, he said. “The issuing of landing visa is no longer automatic. It is subject to scrutiny,” he stressed.
The President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama announced on March 6 Ghana’s Independence Day celebration that from July his country will issue visa on arrival to citizens of the 54 African Union (AU) member states.
He said, “With effect from July this year, we will be allowing citizens of AU member states to enter our country and obtain visas on arrival with the option to stay for up to 30 days and experience what our country has to offer. This measure, with time, should stimulate air travel, trade, investment and tourism.”
Sierra Leone like Ghana offers visa free entry to citizens of West Africa by virtue of ECOWAS protocols. A person travelling to Sierra Leone with a non-ECOWAS passport requires a visa. Sierra Leone has no law to issue visa on arrival for AU member states. And President Koroma has not made such announcement to issue visa on arrival to AU citizens.