Ask The US Embassy

Here's what you should know about 'Obamacare'

Whether you need to buy
American health insurance
when you are living in
Jamaica is complicated.

Q: I'm an American citizen living in Jamaica. I have heard about the new health care law in the United States, sometimes called 'Obamacare' or 'The Affordable Care Act'. Does this new law mean that I need to buy an American health insurance policy even if I live here in Jamaica? A: Whether you need ... Read More

The Summer Work and Travel
programme allows students
enrolled in accredited
universities and colleges to
travel to the United States. Is it possible for a student to get a visa?
Q: I'm currently a student at university and want to travel to visit my aunt in Florida during the s ... Read More

Even if you obtain the visa initially by misrepresenting the facts, the Embassy actively reviews visa issuances for past years, and you may have your visa revoked later. Be wary of 'visa fixers'
Q: I've heard of people who say they can increase my odds of getting a visa, for example, by providi ... Read More

If a visa is valid, it means that you can travel to the US and present yourself to Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry. Visa validity
Q: Can someone enter the United States of America in February 2014 and spend two weeks if their visi ... Read More

Pink MRV receipts not valid after March 12

Wednesday, February 19, 2014    

The United States Embassy in Kingston. (OBSERVER FILE PHOTO)

Q: I filled out a visa application and paid the application fee last year at the National Commercial Bank, but I haven't had time to schedule an appointment yet. Is the receipt still valid, or do I have to pay the fee again?" A: If you paid the Machine Readable Visas (MRV) fee before March 14, 2013 at the National Commercial Bank, you need to schedule an interview before March 12, 2014. After this date, we will no longer be accepting the pink MRV receipts from National Commercial Bank. If you p ... Read More

Reapplying for a visa after deportation

Wednesday, February 12, 2014    

According to the US Embassy, some visa ineligibilities are related to past criminal activity.

Q: I met and fell in love with this Christian man. We eventually got married. He told me that he once lived in the United States, got into some problems and was imprisoned for about two years. He was deported in 1991. However, he refused to tell me the reason he was imprisoned. He said that immigration told him when he was departing the USA that he can reapply in five years time. I travel to the US regularly and would want him to accompany me. Is it possible for him to be granted a visa to re-e ... Read More

Obtaining a Returning Resident Visa

Wednesday, January 22, 2014    

Proof that you have continued to file US tax returns and
maintained economic or social ties to the country can help you
obtain a Returning Resident Visa.

 This is the second of a twopart feature on maintaining your Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the United States. IF you did not apply for a re-entry permit before you left the United States, and you have now been away for more than one continuous year, you can apply for a Returning Resident (SB-1) visa. To qualify to receive a returning resident visa, you must provide evidence that you:   • Were lawfully admitted to the US as a permanent resident;   • Departed ... Read More

How do I cancel my dead mom's visa?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014    

Cancelling the passport and visa of someone who is deceased
helps in preventing identity theft.

Q: My mother recently passed away, and there is a valid United States B1/B2 visitor's visa in her passport. We have contacted Jamaica's Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) to have the passport cancelled. What must I do about her US visa? A: Please accept our condolence on the death of your mother. Taking care of things like cancelling your mother's passport and visa is a huge help in preventing visa and passport fraud, and will keep someone from stealing her identity to travel ... Read More

Travelling while waiting on an immigrant visa

Wednesday, December 04, 2013    

Due to high demand for immigrant visas and limits on the number of immigrant visas that may be
issued each year, most immigrant visa applications take months or even years to be processed.

A: Yes, your mother is allowed to travel abroad while she is awaiting her US immigrant visa. Due to high demand for immigrant visas and limits on the number of immigrant visas that may be issued each year, most immigrant visa applications take months or even years to be processed. Your mother should keep the following information in mind, however, if she chooses to travel. If your mother spends one year or longer in Canada caring for her father, she will have to obtain a Canadian police certifi ... Read More

A visa doesn't really allow admission 'into' the US

Wednesday, November 13, 2013    

A visa allows the holder to travel to the port of entry where he
or she will request admission to the United States.

Q: My friend received a visa from the United States Embassy, but was denied admission to the US. Isn't the visa a permission to enter? A: Most applicants at the US Embassy are seeking non immigrant visitor visas, normally B1/B2, which allows the recipient to travel for pleasure, or conduct limited business, while in the United States. It is important for all visa applicants to understand that a visa does not, itself, authorise entry to the United States, rather, it allows the holder to travel t ... Read More

Who to contact about late social security payment

Wednesday, November 06, 2013    

Who to contact about late
social security payment

Q: I didn't receive my social security payment this month, whom should I contact? A: As of October 1, 2013, the Social Security Regional Office administering assistance to beneficiaries in Jamaica made region-wide operational changes. The regional office provides assistance that includes acceptance of first-time applications for retirement and disability benefits; changes of address; social security number applications; assistance with non-receipt of cheques and related problem solving. If you ... Read More

Wait time between visa applications

Wednesday, October 23, 2013    

There is no
time that you
must wait
between visa

Q: I recently applied for my visitor's visa to the US and was not approved. How long must I wait before I reapply? A: There is no mandatory time that you must wait between visa applications. Any applicant is free to make a new application at any time. Officers' decisions are not based on chance, however, so there are certain factors you should consider before deciding to submit a new application. Under US immigration law, the burden is on the applicant to convince the consular officer that he ... Read More

Beware shady consultants

Wednesday, October 02, 2013    

All the forms are available for free, and can be accessed and completed by anyone with basic
computer skills.

Q: Should I use a visa consultant to help me with my application? I was told I'll get my visa faster if I pay for professional help. A: Although the visa application process may seem daunting at first, with numerous forms to complete and various fees to pay, it is designed to be as straightforward and accessible as possible. All the forms are available for free, and can be accessed and completed by anyone with basic computer skills. If you are not comfortable using a computer, a close friend o ... Read More

Even babies need a visa to enter the US

Wednesday, September 25, 2013    

A child will not be allowed to enter the
US, or even board the plane, without a
valid visa and passport.

Q: I have a four-month-old daughter and would love to take a trip to the United States with her. I already have a visitor's visa, and I have been told that she can travel with me on my visa because she is a baby. Is this true?" A: Everyone who wishes to visit the United States for business and/or pleasure requires a tourist visa, even infants. This means that even if you are the parent of the child and have a valid visa, the child will need his or her own visa in the child's passport. The child ... Read More



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