The Secretary of Homeland Security has notified the Secretary of State that Sierra Leone denies or unreasonably delays accepting the return of its citizens, subjects, nationals or residents subject to final orders of removal from the United States, and the Secretary of State has ordered consular officers in Sierra Leone to discontinue granting all nonimmigrant visas for Sierra Leonean citizens and nationals applying in Freetown, with limited exceptions.

As of September 11, 2017, the United States has discontinued issuance of B nonimmigrant visas (including B1, B2, and B1/B2 visas) to all Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation officials and immigration officials of Sierra Leone applying in Freetown, subject to limited exceptions. This action was taken pursuant to section 243(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Visa applications submitted before September 11, 2020, but not yet issued, will be subject to the discontinuation. Should an individual subject to the Secretary’s order submit a visa application after September 11, 2017, the consular section will proceed with an interview. However, a consular officer will not be able to issue a visa to applicants subject to the Secretary’s order until visa issuance is resumed.

Visa issuance covered by the Secretary’s order for Sierra Leone will resume once the Secretary of Homeland Security sends the Secretary of State the notice required by U.S. law, relating to the country’s acceptance of its nationals. Consular operations at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown will continue. These visa restrictions do not affect other consular services provided, including adjudication of applications from individuals not covered by the suspension. Once these sanctions have been lifted, the Embassy may issue nonimmigrant visas to eligible visa applicants. The U.S. Department of State will provide information on how to continue with discontinued visa applications. Nonimmigrant visa applicants who were previously found ineligible for a visa and whose visa applications were refused on such basis, such as under INA 212(a), will not be reconsidered. Applicants with an urgent matter and who need to travel immediately should follow the guidance provided at the Embassy’s website to request an emergency appointment. Visas that have not expired will continue to be valid.