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U.S Embassy: Zimbabweans Can't Travel to America Without Visas

  • Gibbs Dube

The United States Embassy in Harare has described as false, circulating reports that Zimbabweans can now travel to America without a visa.

In a statement on its website, the embassy said, “The U.S. Embassy in Harare is aware of false news reports stating that Zimbabwe nationals can now travel to the U.S. without a visa. There is absolutely no truth to these stories.”

It directed the public to visit its website for more information about obtaining a U.S visa.

Indications are that nothing has changed from the way it used to grant visas to Zimbabweans.

The website clearly stipulates that “the purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. As a visa applicant, you will need to establish that you meet all requirements to receive the category of visa for which you are applying.”

There are nonimmigrant and immigrant visas that are granted by the embassy.

Nonimmigrant visas include tourism and visit, temporary employment and business, study and exchange and government and international organizations.

Immigrant visas include family-based immigration, fiancé(e), employment-based immigration, diversity visa program and returning resident visa.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently signed two executive actions designed to enhance U.S. security, the more far-reaching of which restricts any Syrian refugees from entering the United States for an indefinite period of time.

Trump signed the orders at the Pentagon, where he participated in a swearing-in ceremony for Defense Secretary James Mattis. Soon after the president’s action, protesters staged public demonstrations in most parts of the country saying the order was not in line with America’s values.

The executive order, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” calls for suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to citizens of “countries of particular concern.”

As a reason for the order, the document cites the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, which were carried out by 19 foreigners who obtained visas to enter the United States without difficulty. It refers to other terrorism-related crimes committed over the past 15 years by foreign nationals who entered the United States using either short-term visas — as visitors, students or temporary workers — or as refugees seeking resettlement in the U.S.

“Deteriorating conditions in certain countries due to war, strife, disaster and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to entered the United States,” the order states, and it calls for greater vigilance and caution by American consular officials before visas are granted.

The order does not spell out which countries are “of particular concern,” although it authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to keep track of nations that do not provide adequate information about their citizens. White House officials indicated that Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia would be an initial list of countries “of concern,” but the order noted additional countries could be added to that list at any time.

The order also suspends operations of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days, while the Secretary of State and other officials re-evaluate procedures “to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”

It also limits the number of refugees that may be admitted to the United States to 50,000 during fiscal 2017, the 12-month period that ends on September 30.

Under the order released Friday, travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen are banned from entering the United States for at least 90 days.

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