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All you need to know about your US Embassy visit

Ask the US Embassy

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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Q: I have an appointment with the embassy next month. What do I need to know before I come in?

A: Thank you for the question, it's one we get quite often. Regardless of the reason for visiting us, here are a number of items to keep in mind.

Please do not arrive before your appointment time! You have probably seen applicants lined up outside the embassy or heard stories of long lines in the past, but the embassy is now using an appointment system so there is no advantage to arriving prior to your appointment.

You will not be admitted early and so will have to wait. Embassy-provided space available for those waiting for their appointments is very limited, so you may be uncomfortable and may pose a traffic hazard if you come early and wait in a crowd in the island crossing area of the street in front of the waiting area.

So again, please do not arrive before your scheduled appointment time. For example, if you have a 9:00 am appointment you should arrive no earlier than 8:45 am. The appointment time is the time you will be admitted to the embassy, not the time of your actual interview.

Shortly before your appointment time, the greeters will call for all visa applicants with a similar appointment time slot, and you will all enter the embassy together as a group. Please note that US citizens needing assistance from our American Citizen Services Unit do not need to wait in the visa line and should identify themselves to the guards as US citizens as soon as they arrive.

We want to ensure you have a safe visit to the embassy. All visitors to the Consular Section of the US Embassy in Kingston, including all US citizens and visa applicants must, however, enter via the dedicated consular entrance on Old Hope Road and follow security procedures. Any visitor who declines to be screened by US Embassy security personnel will not be permitted to enter the embassy.

Prohibited items

Visitors are prohibited from bringing any of the following items onto the embassy compound, which is subject to change:

• All electronic devices, including cellphones, smart watches, tablets, radios, Bluetooth-enableed devices and thumb drives;

• Weapons such as firearms, knives, scissors or other sharp objects;

• Umbrellas and tools;

• All liquids;

• Cosmetics;

• Luggage, large bags and backpacks;

• Other items determined to be potentially hazardous or dangerous;

• Pens;

• No food (mixed baby formula only),

The embassy does not have the capacity to store any of your personal possessions, so avoid delaying your entry and that of those in line behind you by securing prohibited items elsewhere before you enter the embassy's compound. The embassy also reserves the right to limit the entry of other personal items. A canteen is available in the waiting area if you wish to purchase drinks or snacks. Restrooms are also available.

Our space is limited so interviews are limited to the applicant, or in the case of an immigrant visa, the applicant and the petitioner. There are instances, however, where applicants can have someone accompany them to the interview. For example, an applicant may bring an interpreter if they do not speak English well enough to participate in an interview. Elderly applicants or those with disabilities may bring one person to provide assistance. Minor child applicants should be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or responsible adult. Attorneys are not permitted to accompany clients into the waiting room or to a visa interview.

We hope this information is useful and look forward to seeing you when you come to the embassy.

You can find more information about how to travel to the US on our website, www.jm.usembassy.gov and the website of our authorised service provider at https://usvisa-info.com Keep on top of Embassy news on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Embassy-Jamaica and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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