Ask the Consul — August 2020

Question: Most offices in T&T have now resumed normal operations. When will the U.S. Embassy be open for normal operations?

Answer: The emergence of the COVID-19 virus, U.S. government regulations related to COVID-19, host-country conditions (including border closures), and the necessity for social distancing has affected the volume of services we can accommodate and the ability to provide routine services.

The American Citizens Services Unit has been providing emergency assistance, notarial services, and emergency passport services. Effective August 1, appointments are available for regular passport services, so U.S. citizens seeking new or renewed passports are able to schedule an appointment online. Appointments are still limited to ensure safe social distancing. If you require an emergency appointment or more information email acspos@state.gov before arriving at the Embassy. Don’t forget, 2020 is an election year in the United States and the U.S. Embassy American Citizens Services Unit is ready to assist all overseas voters with registration and submission of ballots.

Likewise, regular appointments at reduced capacity for immigrant visa processing will commence this month. Be advised that we are currently only processing immigrant visas that appear to qualify for an exemption to recent Presidential proclamations. Immigrants who were recently issued Immigrant Visas and have concerns about their ability to travel or applicants who have had their interviews cancelled are asked to contact us at ptsiv@state.gov.

Similarly, the Consular Section — which has been processing non-immigrant visas based on U.S. government criteria; emergency travel needs; and diplomatic and official government travel — will gradually resume non-immigrant visa processing starting August 1 based on visa type. Specifically, F, J, and M visa classes already have appointment slots available in the online registration system in order to accommodate travel to the United States for the commencement of classes in August and September. Appointments for work visas (Ps, Os, and Es) may be requested either through the expedited appointment request system or by emailing consularpos@state.gov. Applicants whose cases are in 221G (pending) status awaiting interviews will also start to receive instructions from the Consular Section regarding setting follow-up appointments. Non-urgent tourist visa interview appointments will slowly be phased in, but will still be considered on an emergency basis. Remember to submit your purpose of travel with your request for an expedited appointment.

We are currently processing Renewal Interview Waiver or ‘drop box’ applications. Persons who think they qualify are urged to mail in their applications as a way to help maintain social distancing. Applicants can prepare the form, register online, pay the visa application fee, and courier their packages to the Embassy.

Application information including a link to the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form is available on the Information and Appointment website at trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com

If you are required to appear in person, plan to arrive no more than ten minutes prior to your interview. Due to social distancing protocols, applicants who arrive more than 10 minutes before their appointments will be turned away. Applicants will be asked to reschedule their appointments if they do not have a mask or if they are displaying flu-like symptoms or are otherwise feeling unwell.

Please note that only applicants, their parents, or caregivers of persons who require assistance will be admitted into the consular waiting room. If you would like to accompany an applicant to their interview, please submit a request by email to consularpos@state.gov at least four working days prior to the interview for authorization to enter.

Visitors must wear a mask, follow the posted guidelines, and maintain an appropriate physical distance from fellow applicants. Remember cellphones, electronic devices, bags, and weapons of any kind are prohibited in the waiting area.

We look forward to your cooperation with our security personnel and uniformed greeters to assure a smooth and quick visit. We encourage applicants to visit the Embassy website: tt.usembassy.gov for updates on services, Embassy news and events.

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