Ask the Consul …Installment One Hundred Thirty-Eight

Q: My friend told me that the Embassy has more tourist visas available this year and is giving them out now, is that true?

A: No! Though you may have noticed that the Embassy has been making more interview slots available, this has nothing to do with the overall availability of visas. The increase in interviews is part of an effort to reduce the overall wait time between completing an application online and being able to interview for a visa. Non-immigrant tourist visas do not have a quota, so unless you need to travel in the near future or would like to renew your visa, applying for a visa now would not benefit you in any way.

Remember, to qualify for a tourist or business visa, every applicant must successfully demonstrate to the satisfaction of the consular officer strong ties outside of the United States that would compel them to return to their residence abroad following a brief stay in the United States This requirement applies to everyone wishing to travel to the United States, regardless of whether they have an invitation from an American citizen. Consular officers at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown do not generally request or consider documents other than the visa application form. An applicant’s ties to Guyana, personal background, and reasons for travel are the most important factors in the decision, and the officer evaluates those during the interview process and by reviewing the information on the application. If you have been recently refused, the Embassy recommends that you not re-apply until you can demonstrate that your circumstances have changed to where you are able to show ties that would compel you to return to Guyana (or your home in a third country) after a temporary visit and that you would abide by the terms of the visa while in the United States.

Q: My case is in administrative processing. What does that mean and how long will it take?

A: The Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel and providing prompt and courteous service. At the same time, we must ensure that applicants are both qualified for the visa and do not pose a security risk to the United States. Applicants sometimes require additional screening to determine whether they are eligible for the visa. The term “administrative processing” refers to various additional checks that must be done before their visas can be issued.

Administrative processing does NOT mean that the U.S. Government has identified the applicant as a security risk. Many factors can trigger these checks. For security reasons, the consular officer will not be able to provide specific information regarding what additional checks are to be performed. In some cases, the consular officer may need to request additional information from the visa applicant.
Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the initial visa interview, but the timing can vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. The Department of State is continuously working to improve processing and expedite visas and we appreciate your patience. The best way to ensure your visa will be ready in time and avoid interference with your travel plans is to apply as early as possible.

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“Ask the Consul” is a fortnightly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. If you have a general question about visa policy please email it to us at AskGeorge@state.gov. We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News and on our website at http://georgetown.usembassy. gov/ask-the-consul.html. Information about visas and travel can be viewed at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov, http://travel.state.gov, and at http://www.dhs.gov. Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information.

Other than the questions we select, we DO NOT respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul. Please contact the visa inquiries unit (email visageorge@state.gov or call 225-7965 between 8 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday) if you have questions about a specific case.

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