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Scheduling visa appointments

Wednesday, January 16, 2013    

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Q: My sister applied for a visa before Christmas and barely got an appointment at the Embassy in time to travel for the holidays. How early do I need to schedule a visa appointment if I want to travel this spring?

A: United States Embassy Kingston strives to keep appointment wait times short, but all individuals are strongly encouraged to apply for their visas as early as possible before a planned trip.

Certain times of the year are particularly busy in the Consular Section, including the weeks leading up to Easter, the Penn Relays, and school summer holidays. If you try to schedule an appointment at one of these times, you may face a wait of several weeks or longer in order to get an appointment date, because so many other individuals are also planning to travel then.

Emergency appointment requests are not granted to individuals who fail to plan ahead properly for their travel, so to avoid any possible inconveniences, schedule your visa appointment as soon as possible. For example, if you are planning to travel in March, April or even May, please consider scheduling an appointment at US Embassy, Kingston, in January or February, when demand for visas is lower. At this time of year you also will likely experience a shorter wait time at the Embassy on the day of your appointment, and you will not have to be nervous about whether your visa will be ready in time for your trip.

Please also keep in mind that visa processing and delivery typically takes approximately one week following your appointment. In some cases, administrative processing can take even longer. Expedited visa processing is only available in extreme circumstances to facilitate urgent medical care, funeral attendance, and other similar types of emergency travel.

For additional information regarding all types of non-immigrant and immigrant visas, please visit our website at: http://kingston.usembassy.gov/general_information.html.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early in order to allow ample time for processing.

The embassy would like to remind visa applicants to be cautious in all dealings with individuals and companies that claim to offer any assistance in obtaining US visas. These individuals and companies may attempt to receive payment for forms and information about visa procedures that are free on the embassy or Department of State website.

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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