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Applying for visas for children

Wednesday, October 31, 2012    

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Q: My sister would like to take my daughter to New York for Christmas to visit our mother. If I apply for a visa for my daughter, who needs to go to the interview? If the visa is denied, can I get a refund?

A: The US Embassy has strict requirements regarding who can apply for a visa for a child. These requirements are in place in order to protect minors and ensure that a biological parent or the legal guardian is aware of and has given permission for the child's visa application.

US Embassy Kingston requires that all individuals under the age of 18 be accompanied at the visa interview by a biological parent or legal guardian. While applicants age 13 and under do not need to appear in person for an interview, an appointment is still required for their documents to be submitted by a biological parent or legal guardian.

During the interview, the consular officer may request to see the child's original birth certificate and the biological parent's photo identification. If you are the legal guardian of the child, you will need to present an official court order from a judge stating that you have complete legal custody of the child. A notarised document from the child's parent allowing you to apply for the visa and travel with the child is not sufficient.

The application fee is non-refundable. Everyone, including minors, must pay this fee. The fee covers the cost of processing the application regardless of whether your visa is approved. If your application was refused and you choose to reapply for a visa, you will be required to pay the visa application processing fee.

Applicants can learn more about what to expect on the day of their appointment through an embassy-produced YouTube video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHACg4R9N5o

For more information regarding how to apply for a visa please visit our website at: http://kingston.usembassy.gov/how_to_apply2.html. Applicants are encouraged to apply for their visa early to provide ample time for visa processing.

Reminder for US Citizens: You may drop off your voting materials with postage affixed at the US Embassy in Kingston or at the US Consular Agencies in Montego Bay and the Cayman Islands for delivery to the United States. For more information about American Citizen Services, please visit our website at: http://kingston.usembassy.gov/service.html.

The US Embassy staff in Kingston will answer questions you may have regarding the US Mission, including consular law, regulations and/or practice. In order to respect privacy, staff will not answer questions about specific visa applications. The embassy employs a visa appointment system, so it is only necessary for visa applicants to arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled appointment.

Send your questions to: editorial@jamaicaobserver.com and we will send them to the embassy.

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