Ask the Consul — August 2021

Question:  A colleague traveling to New York City applied for a renewal of his tourist visa (B1/B2) but was asked to schedule an interview.  Why does he need an interview?  I heard all renewals can be mailed in for processing?

Answer:  At this time, most in-person services have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  However, we continue to provide a limited number of expedited appointments for persons with urgent travel needs.

The Consular Section processes mail-in applications from two categories of applicants:

  1. Persons under the age of 14 and those ages 80 and older may qualify for the Appearance Interview Waiver.
  2. Interview Waiver Renewal applicants who meet the qualifying criteria. These applicants have visas that are either still valid or have expired within the preceding 48 months.  This policy remains in effect until December 31, 2021.  To view the criteria, please visit https://tt.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/

After registering online, the system will determine if you qualify for an Interview Waiver and prompt you to proceed further.  Pay attention to the questions on the online profile and respond accurately.

All non-immigrant visa applications begin with completion of the DS-160 application form and creation of an online profile for each person applying.  Links to the DS-160 application and step-by-step instructions are provided on the Information and Appointment Website: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/

Review carefully the list of required documents and refrain from sending original documents apart from the passports, as only passports will be returned.

Applications are to be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and mailed there using TTPost inclusive of a return Track Pak for each passport.  Applications cannot be dropped off at the Embassy or sent with a family member who has an interview scheduled.  Each package must include a passport-sized photo taken within the past six months and a copy of your fee receipt.  Applicants can only pay fees at Scotia Bank and not online.

Non-immigrant visa processing takes 15-20 working days from receipt at the Consular Section and passports are returned by mail to the address provided on the return envelope.  We recommend applicants only finalize travel plans after receiving their passports with visas.

If the Consular Section requires additional information after reviewing an application or if an applicant does not qualify for a waiver of the interview, we will contact them to schedule an in-person appointment at the embassy.

Under U.S. law, nonimmigrant visa applicants traveling to the United States for business or tourism are presumed to be an intending immigrant until they establish, to the satisfaction of the Consular Officer, that they are entitled to a temporary visitor visa.  This standard is upheld in each U.S. Embassy across the globe.

For more information, visit official websites including the U.S. Embassy Port of Spain website: tt.usembassy.gov and the Visa Information and Appointment Website:  http://trinidadandtbago.usvisa-info.com/

The U.S. Embassy Facebook page will respond to brief inquiries: https://www.facebook.com/ttusa

You are also welcome to send inquiries by email to consularpos@state.gov

The U.S. Embassy celebrates the connections between our two countries, so we look forward to facilitating your travel soon!