The U.S. Embassy in Banjul is pleased to announce that Gambians will now be eligible for longer validity visas, a press release from the United States Banjul office stated yesterday. The U.S. State Department, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, will now issue B1/B2 "tourist" visas valid for up to five years at a time, a dramatic increase, the release noted, explaining that currently Gambians might only qualify for a visa valid for up to two years.
The release however clarified that visa length is different from the length of stay granted to visitors. The length of stay granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to travellers will remain the same, despite the change in visa length. Most travellers are granted up to six months in the United States, although the understanding is that most travellers will depart the United States within a few weeks of arrival as they originally stated in their visa applications.
The increase will allow qualified applicants to travel to the United States without having to renew their visas as frequently. This will reduce the costs to Gambian travellers, as they will have to pay fewer visa application fees and will save time interviewing at the Embassy. It will also reduce the workload for U.S. Embassy staff, allowing them to devote more time to first-time applicants.
On a similar note, American citizens will now be eligible for five-year validity tourist visas to The Gambia, which should help the tourism sector.
For more information about visas to the United States or the application procedure, prospective applicants are advised to visit the U.S. State Department's website: www.travel.state.gov or http://banjul.usembassy.gov