‘’Visa on Entry Policy will not Compromise Security’’ -Chief Immigration Officer

Chief Immigration Officer, Andrew Jaiah Kaikai, has told newsmen at the usual government press briefing in Freetown that the recent introduction of a visa on entry policy for all visitors into Sierra Leone will not compromise the security of the state of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Kaikai made the statement while reacting to concerns around on how the introduction of the visa on arrival policy by the Government of Sierra Leone will affect the security of the country as many other foreign nationals with questionable character will want to use the country to undertake terrorism and drug related activities.
He emphasized that government together with the relevant stakeholders such as the Office of National Security (ONS), International Police Organization (INTERPOL), Sierra Leone Police and the Immigration Department will profile visitors to make sure that they do not have a questionable character before entering the country.
It will be recalled that Sierra Leone through the Chief Immigration Officer announced that the country, effective September 5 , 2019 will introduce a visa on arrival policy for all ECOWAS, Commonwealth and European countries, states of the Gulf Corporations and many others including Brazil, Russia ,India ,Japan, Vietnam, Kuwait and many more.
A release from the Immigration Department states that ECOWAS nationals will be issued the visa free on arrival in Sierra Leone, while non ECOWAS countries like those in the Commonwealth will pay USD 25. All others outside those categories will pay USD 80.
The press release has also indicated that states not mentioned in the release will have to contact Sierra Leone’s foreign embassies abroad to obtain visas to the country.
Commenting on the introduction of the visa on arrival policy, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dr. Memunatu Pratt noted that the declaration is a milestone in the strides by government to improve on the tourism sector and foreign direct investment into the country.
Dr. Pratt thanked President Bio and the Vice President for listening to their concerns in the tourism sector to grant a visa on arrival policy for the country.
She disclosed that this has been a serious barrier for tourists and Sierra Leoneans waiting to visit the country.
The non-availability of Sierra Leonean foreign missions in most of the world has proved very challenging for people who want to visit the country, but the introduction of the visa on arrival policy will allow visitors to jet in and have visa right at the Freetown International Airport.
The Tourism Minister expressed hopes that the move which came into being after thorough discussions with the relevant stakeholders will definitely boost the numbers in terms of tourism.
Minister Memunatu Pratt underscored the point that the issue of high cost is also critical for government but that the Ministry with other integrated Ministries are doing a lot to ensure that the problem is resolved.
She further disclosed that they are meeting with Board of Airlines operating in the country and Hotel Owners’ Association with a view to drop down the prices for Airline tickets and hotels which, she noted, are quite expensive and posed a challenge for tourists to visit the country.
Sierra Leone is notable for having beautiful beaches and other historical tourist sites but they are in a pretty deplorable state.
There has been lack of inter-coordination with other sectors such as roads, water, electricity and transport that are critical in moving the tourism sector.

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