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Is it possible for a student to get a visa?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014    

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Q: I'm currently a student at university and want to travel to visit my aunt in Florida during the semester break. I've heard students often don't get visas because they are not working. Is it possible for a student to get a visa?

A: Yes, we approve visas for many students every day. In fact, there are certain visa categories, like the J-1 for summer work and travel, which are primarily used by students. One of the most important factors in adjudicating a visa is determining your ties to Jamaica. It can sometimes be difficult for young people who are still establishing their personal and professional lives to show the kinds of connections to Jamaica that we are looking for, but many students do end up qualifying for a visa.

If you come in for an interview for a visitor's visa, make sure to mention the reasons you have to return to Jamaica, including your plans after graduating, family ties, part-time jobs or voluntary activities. The consular officer might find it helpful to see your school transcript with your grades to show that you are a serious student, likely to return and finish your degree. Good prior travel to other countries can also be helpful in showing that you intend to return home.

One popular programme that allows students to travel to the United States is the Summer Work and Travel programme. This allows students who are currently enrolled in an accredited university or college to live and work in the United States over their summer vacation, and learn more about America. You can find out more about the Summer Work and Travel

programme at http://j1visa.state.gov/programs/summer-work-travel/ .

Reminder for US citizens

All US citizens who live outside of the United States and want to vote by absentee ballot must complete a new Federal Post Card Application every year if they wish to vote from abroad. For more information, please visit the www.fvap.gov. 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.

The 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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