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Ask the Consul — August 2022
August 8, 2022

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Question: I started the visa process earlier this year.  However, my interview date is June 2023.  Is there any possibility of slots being made available earlier?  I was disappointed that I was not able to utilize the mail in option.

Answer: The Embassy continues to add visa appointments as capacity allows.  The Consular Section conducts in-person interviews every day and the majority of these are B1/B2 or tourist visa applicants. However, due to staffing and other considerations, we are not yet at pre-pandemic capacity.  Most recently—for the safety of our staff and applicants—it was necessary to cancel NIV interviews due to the threat of adverse weather, though we rescheduled all applicants within a five-week period.

We acknowledge these issues may impact plans for vacations, reconnecting with relatives after border closures, or travel for business.

As we work to overcome the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope to add additional appointment slots.  We recommend checking the Embassy’s site every week to see if any additional slots have opened.  If you have a true emergency travel situation, you can log into your appointment account and request an expedited appointment.  Please keep in mind that while there is no fee to request an expedited visa appointment; you will need to demonstrate the merits of your expedite request on the day of the interview.  Visa fees are paid only at Scotiabank.  We do not take online payments or credit cards.

Expedited appointment requests are processed online.  If you would like to submit an expedited appointment request, return to your online profile select the “Request Expedite’ tab to insert a brief explanation if you believe you meet the specific requirements.

Please note that if the online system directed you to present yourself for an interview, this means you did not qualify for the interview waiver for your visa renewal based on the answers you provided.

After submitting a DS-160 application form and creating an online profile, an applicant is prompted to answer a series of questions that will determine whether or not they are eligible to utilize the interview waiver service.

There are certain applicants who are ineligible to utilize the mail in option including, but not limited to, those applying for a visa because the current visa was lost or stolen, young adults who were under 14 at the time of the last issuance, as well as persons whose previous visa was not issued in Port of Spain.  Being in a group with such an applicant also prevents anyone in the group from qualifying, so plan accordingly.

Reminders for your interview: On the day of your visa interview, you will need to arrive with the following required documents:

You are also welcome to bring other documents to support your application, however, these are not a requirement.

Cellphones, all electronics, liquids, and bags will not be allowed in the waiting area as we are unable to store these items, so please secure elsewhere prior to arrival.  Mask wearing is optional.

Due to the requirement for social distancing, applicants should arrive no more than 10 minutes prior to their interview, maintain appropriate distance from other applicants, and follow all directions given by the greeters.  If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to enter the Consular Waiting Room and will need to reschedule your visa interview, potentially several months later.

On the day of the interview, if an applicant feels unwell or is unable to await the check-in and interview processes, we recommend they reschedule the interview.  Plan to spend up to one hour in the Consular Waiting Room.

If your visa is approved on the day of your interview, your passport will be returned to you in 7-10 business days.  You should not make firm travel plans until you receive your passport with your visa.

We encourage applicants to visit the Information and Appointment Website https://ais.usvisa-info.com/ for official information.

Avoid websites requesting online payment or banking information in exchange for visa assistance or the promise of securing you an expedited appointment.  These are scams.