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Preparing for your IV appointment

Wednesday, July 11, 2012    

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Q: What can I do to prepare for my immigrant visa appointment?

A: Before you can receive an immigrant visa, a consular officer must determine that all your required documents are complete and correct. Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure all your documents are in order before your interview. If you are not sure whether the person who filed for you already submitted a document to the National Visa Center, make sure to check and bring a new copy of the document if necessary. More than 60 per cent of our immigrant visa applicants come to their initial appointment lacking some of these required documents, which results in delays and limits the number of appointments we can provide, since our staff spends so much extra time on repeat cases. A little advance preparation can prevent delays in the issuance of your immigrant visa.

First, all applicants and the petitioner must submit their birth certificates. All applicants and the petitioner must also provide marriage certificates if they have ever been married. If you have changed your name by deed poll, you must submit the original deed poll. If you have divorced, you must submit the original divorce decree. All Jamaican birth and marriage certificates must be issued by the Registrar General's Department on the blue security paper. We cannot accept photocopies, and we cannot accept old-style handwritten birth and marriage certificates.

Second, all applicants 16 and older must provide a Jamaican police certificate. If you have lived outside Jamaica for a year or more since your sixteenth birthday, you must get a police certificate from each country in which you have lived. Instructions on how to obtain police certificates from other countries are available at http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3272.html. One important exception to this rule is that present and former residents of the United States do not need to obtain U.S. police certificates.

If you have ever been arrested for any crime, you should also provide court documents that show the disposition of your case. These documents are required even if the charges against you were dismissed or you were found not guilty. They are also required even if your conviction has been expunged.

All applicants must also have a medical exam. Please schedule your medical exam no later than three weeks before your appointment time to ensure that the exam results reach the Embassy before your interview.

Finally, be sure to bring your passports. All applicants must have a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of visa issuance. In addition, you should bring all old passports containing a US visa, even if that visa or passport is expired.

For more information about American Citizen Services, please visit our website, http://kingston.usembassy.gov/service.html.

Reminder for US citizens

The 2012 election season is underway in the United States. To register to vote from abroad or to sign up to receive state-specific election alerts, visit http://fvap.gov. You may drop off your voting materials with postage affixed at the U.S. Embassy in Kingston or at the US Consular Agencies in Montego Bay and the Cayman Islands for delivery to the United States.

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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