US Embassy Revokes Visas of 71 Students Going to UN Conference
Seventy-one students participating in a model United Nations Conference in New York had their visas revoked and this was as a result of the Embassy, suspecting the organisers of the conference United Ambassadors as fraud. Large sums of money were paid by the students who were turned away from Kotoka International Airport (KIA) and London’s Heathrow Airport. The students paid $250 each as delegates fee to United Ambassadors and ¢758 each as visa fees to the US Embassy. Some of the students have paid for their flight tickets and accommodations for when they arrive in New York-USA; whereas some students who were scheduled to fly out were turned away by Delta Airlines at the check-in counter at the KIA and others who travelled through British Airways on transit through Heathrow Airport in London were also prevented from connecting to New York for the same reason.
Highlights of the contents of the email the students received from the Consular Section of the US Embassy reads: “Dear Applicant: You recently appeared at the US Embassy in Accra for a non-immigrant visa because you were attending the Model UN Conference in New York. This message is to alert you that the non-immigrant visa you received is no longer valid. You must not attempt to travel to the US with this visa. You will be denied boarding at the airport or you will be turned away at the US port of entry.
“If you still wish to travel to the US, you are REQUIRED to appear for a second interview at the US Embassy in Accra. At this second interview, you must bring all of your ORIGINAL Model UN Conference documentation that reflects this program and your participation in it, such as brochures, letters, pamphlets, programs, guidebooks, welcome packets, or any other materials you have. Again, you MUST NOT travel to the US with the visa that you received. Your visa is no longer valid for travel.”
The United Ambassadors insisted they had no control over visa issuance. They further stated that “We assure you that we have no knowledge of, control over or right to interfere with decisions made by US embassies, are not able to question why many conference registrants are granted visas but some are not, since the US Embassy considers numerous factors for each applicant in each country. “The same restrictions apply to all US-based institutions, including universities, non-governmental organizations and others. And, as explicitly stated in the invitation letter you received, in the case of visa rejection, we are not able to interfere on your behalf. “The specific visa application rejections occurred primarily from Uzbekistan and Ghana. We have not heard similar issues from any other delegates attending the conference. I am at a loss for the reason this has occurred. However, it is most probable that one person from these countries (who is not our delegate) attempted to misuse or forge a United Ambassadors’ invitation letter, resulting in the need for stronger verification by the US Embassies in Accra and Tashkent,”
United Ambassadors wrote an email to the rejected students stating that “We are aware of the situation and have emailed the US Embassy in Ghana with an urgent request. Please see below an email I just sent all delegates coming from Ghana and Uzbekistan. Please follow my instructions on your second visa appointment. “Please provide them the attached conference participation guide, as well as your conference invitation letter. Please ask them to call United Ambassadors, if needed: +9174758833.”
It appears that the students have fallen prey to a scam since attempts to contact the UN offices in New York-USA to authenticate the existence of United Ambassadors had not been responded to as of now; although it is been said that the UN offices in New York usually don’t require or demand payment for conference or meeting participation.
Source: Graphic online