THE United States (US) embassy in Maseru will no longer be processing visa applications and offering services such as passport renewals its citizens.
The services will now be offered by the US Consulate General in Johannesburg.
This was said by the embassy in a weekend statement.
“Although routine services for US citizens, such as passport renewals and notarial services, will move to US Consulate General in Johannesburg, the US embassy in Maseru will continue to support US citizens in need of emergency assistance in Lesotho,” the embassy said.
“Lesotho citizens seeking a nonimmigrant or a visitor visa for tourism and business travel to the United States must apply via the Consular Section of the US Consulate General in Johannesburg.
“Only diplomatic visa categories will be processed in Maseru. All immigrant visas categories will continue to be processed by the US Consulate General in Johannesburg,” the embassy added.
In a subsequent interview with this publication yesterday, the embassy’s public affairs officer, Jasmine White, said the changes were introduced after an “extensive analysis of the visa application workload for Lesotho by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington DC”.
“Consular Affairs remains responsible for the welfare and protection of US citizens abroad and the efficient provision of consular services through US embassies and consulates overseas.
“This reallocation of Consular services was communicated to the government of Lesotho in early May and took effect on 20 May 2021,” Ms White said.
“The US embassy in Maseru will continue supporting US citizens in need of emergency assistance in Lesotho and facilitate the issuance of diplomatic visas necessary for continued bilateral engagement between our two nations. The decision has no bearing on the US-Lesotho bilateral relations.
“The transfer of responsibility for routine visa processing for the citizens of Lesotho and routine services for American citizens living and working in Lesotho will properly align US government resources. This decision has no bearing on the longstanding bilateral relationship between the United States of America and the Kingdom of Lesotho.”
Ms White also said Ambassador Rebecca Gonzales, whose tenure has now lapsed, will continue leading the US embassy in Lesotho while her successor Ambassador-designate Maria Brewer awaits confirmation by the US Senate.
“Ambassador-designate Maria Brewer is still awaiting US Senate confirmation in Washington DC. We will have no additional details on her arrival until after she is confirmed,” Ms White said.