Q: How soon can I get an in-person tourist visa appointment at the US Embassy in Kingston?
A: The next available tourist visa appointment is in the fall of 2024. The long wait time for a tourist visa appointment is attributable to the two-year pandemic that disrupted consular operations worldwide. Large global backlogs are the result, with wait times around the world averaging in the hundreds of days. Posts are prioritising work and student visas as well as immigrant visas, deploying most of their available staffing resources to those visa categories. It will take some time to address the backlogs and ultimately reduce the wait times for tourist visa appointments. In the meantime, those with emergency travel needs, such as for a critical medical appointment or to attend the funeral of a direct family member, can request an emergency appointment via the online appointment system. A consular manager will review the request to determine if it meets our criteria for an earlier appointment. We thank everyone for their continued patience.
Q: Is it still possible to renew a visa without an in-person interview?
A: It is still possible for those seeking to renew a tourist visa that has expired within the past four years to do so without attending an in-person interview. When applicants register for an appointment they are prompted to respond to several questions that will determine whether they qualify for the interview waiver process. Those who qualify will be informed to await receipt of an e-mail instructing them on when to submit their passports. Currently, due to a large backlog, we are not accepting immediate submission of passports for renewal cases but hope to resume intake in the next few months.
Q: In early 2021 I was informed my immigrant visa case was documentarily qualified. Why haven't I received an appointment date as yet?
A: The pandemic suspended processing of immigrant visa cases, resulting in an enormous backlog worldwide. Posts everywhere are now trying to address those backlogs as quickly as possible but the scale of the undertaking means it will take many months to eliminate the issue; the global backlog is well over four hundred thousand applicants. The US Embassy in Kingston has been scheduling over one thousand immigrant visa appointments per month since January 2022 to accommodate as many people as possible but it will still take time to satisfy the demand for appointments. Immigrant visa applicants have a crucial role to play in speeding up visa processing. They should make sure all of their documents are up to date â€” of particular importance is the completed and signed affidavit of support and the latest tax documents, including tax returns as well as W2 forms from the petitioner's employer. Also, immigrant visa guidelines require applicants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Failure to comply with the vaccination requirement prevents us from issuing an immigrant visa.
Q: Is it possible to obtain a timely appointment for a US passport?
A: The wait time for a US passport appointment is currently three weeks. For those needing to travel sooner, the US Embassy in Kingston can issue an emergency passport and provides earlier appointments to accommodate the need. In such cases the applicant must present a travel itinerary and evidence of a purchased plane ticket. The emergency passport the embassy issues permits immediate travel and is of limited validity. Once back in the US the applicant can apply for a regular passport with normal validity.
You can find more information about American citizen services on our website https://jm.usembassy.gov/. Keep on top of US Embassy news on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/USEmbassyJamaica/ and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter. We also answer general questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.