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U.S. NONIMMIGRANT VISAS

All Jamaicans who are not U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents need a visa to enter the U.S. Nonimmigrant visas (NIVs) are intended for those who plan to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure; students or exchange visitors embarking on study or cultural work programs in the U.S.; people who are transiting through the U.S. to other onward destinations, seasonal temporary workers or workers who have been hired by U.S. companies for longer periods of time; visitors on diplomatic, official or U.N. business; journalists who are providing media coverage of time-specific events; and others who are travelling to the U.S. for limited time periods.

Applicants under the age of 6 and over the age of 79 do not need to appear in person unless requested. All other applicants must appear in person. This requirement to appear personally applies both to first-time applicants and to those seeking to renew previously issued visas.

 

Where and When do I Apply?

Embassy of the United States of America

142 Old Hope Road, Kingston 6

Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 7.30 am - 4.00 p.m. except for holidays

NIV Appointments and Visa Renewals: 7.30 a.m. -11.30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 1.30 p.m. - 2.30 p.m. Monday and Friday

Electronic items, Including cell phones, cameras, beepers and pagers, are prohibited from the Embassy compound and should be secured elsewhere before entering.

Some NIV renewal applicants may be eligible for our walk-In visa reissuance process, Mondays, from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. Please see our press release under "What's New" to see If you qualify.

E-mail: consularkingst@state.gov

 

How do I make an Appointment?

All applicants must schedule their own appointments at: http://evisaforms.state.gov/SchedulingSystem.asp

This is an electronic calendar that will show available dates and times. If at first there are no appointments available, check the website again later, as appoint­ments frequently become available over the course of the week.

 

What about Temporary Workers and Performers?

For information about the application procedures for H-2B temporary worker visas and 0 and P class per­formance visas, you must e-mail the Consular Section at H2Bkingston@state.gov prior to coming in for an in­terview to ensure a smooth process.

 

What if I need an Emergency Appointment?

Applicants need to apply for an emergency appoint­ment via e-mail. The Embassy does not process emergency appointment requests via fax, letter,  mail, telephone or personal appearance.

 

What constitutes an Emergency?

Only these things qualify as emergencies:

  • Illness or death of an immediate family member {immediate family members are the applicant's mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife, son and/or daughter).
  • Emergency medical treatment which includes any persons needing to travel for support (such as a parent caring for an 111 child).
  • Emergent business travel (such as HIB skilled workers, or CI/D crew members needing to embark from a Jamaican port immediately).
  • Student or exchange visitors needing to report to school/programs on short notice.

All applicants requesting an emergency appointment must first fill out an electronic visa application form and pay the requisite fee at Paymaster. Applicants who believe they qualify for an emergency appointment must then e-mail the Visa Unit at: kingstonilsas@state.gov. The e-mail must contain the following information:

  • Applicant's name
  • Applicant's date of birth
  • Applicant's phone number
  • Applicant's reason for requesting an emergency appointment
  • Applicant's Paymaster receipt number
  • Date applicant needs to travel

All applications for an emergency appointment will be reviewed within 5 working days from the day they are received and the applicants will be informed whether they have been given an emergency appointment. If you do not receive a response after 5 working days, your request has not been granted.

If you are granted an emergency appointment under the above guidelines, you will be given additional infor­mation on what to bring to your interview and the date and time of your emergency appointment. The kingstonvisas@state.gov e-mail is for emergency appointment requests only. Other inquires will not be answered, and should be directed to consulark-lngst@state.gov.

 

What are the fees involved?

A visa application fee of $160 U.S. dollars must be paid (in Jamaican dollars at the exchange rate set by the U.S. Embassy) for the NIV interview. For Jamaican and Caymanian residents, you may pay this fee through your local Paymaster Jamaica Limited branch. For residents of other nations, you may pay this fee at the cashier's window in the U.S. Embassy on the morning of your appointment.

 

What Forms do I need?

The U.S. Department of State now requires all appli­cants to fill out an electronic version of DS-156 AND DS-157. Handwritten forms are no longer accepted.

The DS-156 form can be found on-line at: http://evisaforms.state.gov/

The DS-157 form can be found on-line at: http://foia.state.gov/FORMS/visa/ds0157.pdf

Finally, student visa and exchange visa applicants also must fill out form DS-158 in addition to the DS-156 and DS-157 forms, This form can be found on-line at: http://fola.state.gov/FORMS/vlsa/ds0158.pdf

Each electronic form will have a barcode used for scanning the application when you appear a the Embassy for your appointment. Unacceptable barcodes (those that are not read by our scanner due to poor printer quality and other factors) will not be accepted and applicants will have to exit the Embassy and return with a readable barcode.

 

How Long is the wait?

The average wait time between when an appointment was scheduled until the time of the scheduled visa interview frequently varies. Additionally, appointments often become available over the course of each week as appointments are added or cancelled. The following website contains real-time information on visa appointment wait times: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/general/wait-times.html/

Please note: the listed processing times are averages. The timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. Many additional factors, such as the need for special clearances, incomplete applications, and fraud investigation may influence the processing of individual cases. Please plan accordingly to avoid delays.

 

How long is the NIV Processing Time?

Unless otherwise directed, approved nonimmigrant visas will be delivered directly to applicants through a professional courier service. At the time applicants are approved for an NIV, they will immediately proceed to the courier company, which is located just a three minute walk from the Embassy. Each visa recipient will pay a fee to the company and will arrange all delivery details with company representatives. The courier company will deliver the passport with visa affixed ap­proximately four (4) business days after the date of the Embassy interview.

For certain emergencies, expedited processing may be available. Any expedited processing requests will be reviewed by the Consular Officer at the time of your interview. Visa renewals do not qualify for expedited processing.

For Caymanian residents two different options are available. You may pick up your visa at the Embassy the second business day after your interview at 1.30 p.m. or you may return to the Cayman Islands with your passport and a fetter from the Consular Officer and mail your passport back to the Embassy. Specific instructions will be discussed by the Consular Officer at the time of your interview.

 

What Documentation do I need for the Interview?

  • A valid Passport
  • All previous U.S. visas in old passports (even if expired)
  • Completed and signed visa application forms:
  • DS-156 http://evisaforms.state.gov/
  • DS-157 http://foia.state.gov/FORMS/visa/ds0157.pdf
  • DS-158http://foia.state.gov/FORMS/visa/ds015S.pdf (for students and exchange visitors only)
  • One passport-sized photo (2" by 2" in a dark-coloured shirt on white or off-white background taken within last 6 months)
  • Paymaster 'tee paid" receipts, which are numbered "1" and "2", For fees paid beginning 01 January 2008, the fee is $131.
  • If applying for a minor under 18, an original copy of the child's birth certificate from the Registrar General's Department on security paper (NOTE - Children under the age of 6 are not required to appear in person for visa interviews. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian when being interviewed for the visa. Parents or legal guardians must also present their own passport or identification to the interviewing officer. Additionally, legal guardians must present original, official court documentation that they have been appointed guardian of the minor).

Additional documentation is required from applicants for student visas and temporary work visas, as well as some other categories, Click on the sections listed under "Other Helpful Links" below for more detailed information.


Other Helpful Links

Visa Forms at http://evisaforms.state.gov/and http://travel.state.gov/visa/fivi/forms/forrnsJ342.htnil

Different visa Types at  http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1162.html

U.S. State Department Travel Website (additional visa Information): http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/theme_home3.jsp

Office Hours: Monday - Friday 7.30 a.m.-4.00 p.m., except for holidays.

Changes To U.S. Non-Immigrant Visa Application Service - November 2008

National Commercial Bank will begin collecting the visa application fee of US$131 instead of Paymaster.

The US-based Computer Sciences Corporation will begin providing visa information and scheduling appointments through a pay-for-service telephone call centre staffed by operators. The Corporation will also open a self-service website option at a slightly lower cost.

DHL will begin the Embassy's official courier company to deliver passports with visas to all successful applicants. DHL will have a counter in the Consular Section waiting room where applicants will make arrangements for delivery of their passports.


How much will it cost?

The cost for the call centre option will be US$13 to obtain visa information and schedule an appointment for a non-immigrant visa interview. The call centre can be reached by dialling 1 -800-572-7780, Monday through Friday, 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. local time, except on Jamaican and U.S. holidays. For the US$13, the caller will receive eight minutes of call time with an agent. *--   Over the phone, the fee is payable by Visa or MasterCard. Cash payments for a Pin allowing eight minutes with an agent can be made at any NCB branch. The Pin will be activated the next business day.

The fee covers an eight-minute conversation and would allow an applicant to reschedule the appointment twice, if necessary.

The Embassy's self-service website address is: www.usvisa-Jamaica.com, at which applicants are to schedule a visa appointment or obtain information on how to apply for a visa. There is a US$10 charge for the service, payable by Visa or MasterCard through the website.

To pay for the same service by cash, a personal identification number (Pin) can be purchased at any National Commercial Bank branch using Jamaican dollars. The Pin is then entered at the website. This service is available 24 hours a day/seven days a week.

DHL will deliver passports to applicants' addresses for US$8.50. Only one fee will be charged per family of up to five members.