April 16, 2010
The best time for US visas


Why discuss summer travel a week before Christmas?

Soon after the New Year begins, many people will begin to make plans for summer vacation, some of which may include travel to visit family or friends in the United States. Now is the best time to plan for such summer travel. During the months following the holidays fewer applicants apply for visas. This means a better availability of appointments and shorter wait times.{{more}} Ideally, applicants should make their appointments at least two months before the date that they wish to travel. Applicants who are planning to travel this summer and do not yet have an appointment should make one soon. Planning ahead will help avoid the disappointment and inconvenience of disrupted travel plans. Even if you don’t have specific travel plans, you can still apply for a visa.

What do I need to bring to the interview?

All applicants applying for visitor visas need to bring their current and previous passports issued in the past ten years; DS-156: Printout of DS-156 and printed barcode; a 5cm x 5cm/2in x 2in color photo with a white background, taken within the last six months; and proof of employment or enrollment in school, financial documents such as bank statements showing account balances, and any other financial documents such as proof of land ownership, investments, etc. Male applicants of all nationalities aged 16 to 45 must also bring a completed DS-157 application form. Any applicants with arrest or criminal records must provide a copy of their court and/or arrest record and copy of relevant Laws/Statutes (including cases that ended with an acquittal or pardon) and an English translation of those documents. In the event that there was no trial, bring a letter in English that explains the circumstances of the arrest.

All applicants should come to their interview prepared to speak about their reasons for visiting the United States and their ties to the Eastern Caribbean. Applicants applying for visas for other purposes such as student or crewmember visas should come prepared with all required documents. A list of specific required documents for all visa categories can be found at the Embassy website http://barbados.usembassy.gov/non-immigrant_visas.html.

Applicants should also check their passports to make sure they have AT LEAST six months remaining validity and to ensure that their passports are in good condition. The Embassy cannot issue a visa in a passport that is damaged or mutilated or expiring within six months.

What if I need an expedited appointment?

The waiting period for an interview appointment varies with demand. Typically, the Embassy is able to offer appointments within three to five weeks. However, during certain times of year like the busy summer season, the wait can be as long as eight weeks. Qualified applicants can ensure their ability to apply for a visa in time for their planned travel by requesting their appointments early. Failure to plan ahead for non-emergency travel is not grounds for an expedited appointment.

The Consular Section will provide expedited visa appointments on a case by case basis and only where a genuine proven emergency exists. Before contacting the Embassy, it is strongly recommended that the applicant first try to schedule an appointment online at https://evisaforms.state.gov/default.asp?postcode=BGN&appcode=3. If no appointment is available prior to the date the applicant wishes to travel, call the NIV information hotline at (246) 227-4226 (Monday-Friday 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.), send a fax to (246) 431-0179, or send an e-mail to [email protected] to request an emergency appointment. You will be asked to send proof of the true emergency, such as a doctor’s letter or medical appointment confirmation. A representative will get back to you and let you know if we can accommodate you for an expedited appointment.

If I am issued a B-1/B-2 Visitors Visa, when will the visa be ready?

Non-immigrant visa applications are subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. All applicants require a personal interview and fingerprinting. Most qualified applicants will receive their visa by courier service in five to seven business days. The Consular Section returns all visas via courier service and only offers same day processing and pickup in emergency situations. However, same day printing cannot be guaranteed, even in emergencies, as final approval for all visas must come from Washington D.C.

Some applicants may be informed at the interview that their applications require additional processing time. The time needed for processing these cases is difficult to predict. Therefore, we recommend that individuals allow ample time before their planned travel date when seeking to obtain a visa.

Any further questions about this, or other Consular and travel topics can be found at our website at http://barbados.usembassy.gov.