By Tom Westcott.
Tripoli, 7 March 2014:
Libyans wishing to apply for visas to travel to the US will soon be able to . . .[restrict]do so in Tripoli, as the US embassy in Libya plans to open a new consular section by May this year.
The new consular section will be part of a purpose-built complex being added to the current US embassy compound near the Airport Road.
“One of the questions we are asked most frequently is about visas,” an embassy official told the Libya Herald. “We want Libyans to go to the US and an in-country consular building will make this easier.”
The new section of the embassy would include a cultural centre where events could be held, the official said. He added that it would also be a comfortable space where Libyans and Americans could meet.
At present, the embassy only issues visas for officials, and ordinary Libyans have to go to embassies in other countries to apply for visas. Most choose Jordan or Morocco but this is still time-consuming and expensive. A recent decision by the Moroccan government to impose visa restrictions for Libyans has made the process of getting an American visa still more challenging.
US Ambassador Deborah Jones said the US was a popular choice for Libyans wishing to study abroad, adding that the number of Libyan students in America had increased eight-fold since 2007.
“There are around 2,000 Libyans currently studying in the US and we hope to make that 3,000 soon,” she said.
Many of these are on scholarship programmes, funded by either the US or the Libyan government, although some are self-funded. [/restrict]