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No need to bring young children for interviews

Wednesday, May 07, 2014    

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Q: I want to travel with my son on vacation to the United States, but I don't want him to have to miss school. Do I have to bring him in for the interview?

A: Although we have made a lot of improvements to our waiting area in recent years, including installing a television, snack stand, and an awning, it can be tedious to have to travel to the embassy and wait for an interview. This is especially true for our younger, energetic applicants. The good news is that children under the age of 14 do not need to personally appear at the embassy to be interviewed. The child's parent or legal guardian can interview on the child's behalf.

Here are some important things to consider when applying for a visa for your child:

* One parent or legal guardian must be interviewed by the consular officer. Even if the child will travel with someone else, it is important for the safety of the child and to prevent human trafficking that we speak with either a parent of the child, or the legal guardian. If you are the child's legal guardian and not the parent, please bring documentation showing that you are the child's legal guardian.

* Please bring the original copy of the child's birth certificate. If the parent's name has changed since the birth certificate was issued, please bring documents showing the name change (for example, marriage certificates or deed polls).

* If one or both of the parents have had or currently have US visas, please bring the passports with the visas in them.

The next time your child needs a visa, avoid the hassle of taking them out of school, and take advantage of this opportunity.

In some cases, adults who are renewing their visas may also not be required to come into the embassy. To find out if you qualify for an interview waiver, check out our website at http://kingston.usembassy.gov/interviewwaiver.html.

Town Hall Meeting

US Embassy Kingston in conjunction with the Regional Federal Benefits Unit will hold a town hall and answer questions related to Social Security and other federal benefits at the US Embassy in Kingston on May 12 at 1:00 pm. A town hall will also be held at the SeaGarden Beach Resort in Montego Bay on May 14 at 5:00 pm. Individuals who wish to attend must send an email to KingstonACS@state.gov no later than May 8.

Limited one-on-one appointments with the Regional Federal Benefits Unit are also available on May 12 -13 in Kingston and May 14 in Montego Bay. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment in Kingston, please email KingstonACS@state.gov. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment in Montego Bay, please email MobayACS@state.gov.

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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