Residents of American Samoa who normally apply for their US visas at the US Embassy in Samoa now have to go to New Zealand to get their visas during the months of June, July and August.
This is because the staffer who was in charge of the visa processing at the Embassy is shipping out at the end of her term.
A notice from the Embassy said, “Please be advised that there will be no US visa interviews held at the US Embassy Apia over the months of June, July, August. Applicants are advised to apply at the US Consulate in Auckland , New Zealand or the US embassy in Suva Fiji. Information on the next Apia visa week will be posted in due time.”
Travel agents in the territory say this will be a burden for local residents who will have to pay airfares to Apia, and New Zealand , their accommodation there and after all those expenses, there’s no guarantee that their visa applications will be granted.
Some wondered if Congresswoman Aumua Amata could offer some assistance in the situation.
The congresswoman explained that the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Apia is transitioning out to a new post and she is the only one authorized to handle visa applications.
Her replacement is in the process of packing up from their current station and moving to Samoa.
Aumua said the Charge d affair at the Apia Embassy had informed her office ahead of time.
She told KHJ News this sort of situation very rarely happens and pointed out alot is involved when one State Department personnel change stations.
The congresswoman said, “The U.S. Department of State must allow these federal personnel time to organize and carry out their move … it is almost the same as moving military personnel and family to another post. A lot of details are involved.”