15 May 2008

US visa processing to be done in Nuku'alofa

2:40 pm on 15 May 2008

The United States has agreed to a request from Tonga for applications by Tongan citizens for Non-Immigrant Visas to the US to be lodged and processed in the capital, Nuku'alofa.

The Prime Minister says the Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, agreed to the request, during a bilateral meeting with the Dr. Feleti Sevele, in Washington DC this week.

Since the September 11th attack, Tongan citizens wishing to travel to the US on non-immigrant visas had to travel to Fiji to personally lodge visa applications at the US Embassy in Suva.

Dr Sevele says he personally thanked the Secretary of State for the US Government' s willingness to review the visa application procedure.

A team of officials from the US Embassy in Suva were recently in Nuku'alofa to look at possible office location and other logistics.

It is expected that the lodging of non -immigrant visa applications in Nuku'alofa will begin before the end of 2008.