Ask the Consul …Visa Fraud Indicators

Installment One Hundred Forty-One
Unfortunately, applicants for visas sometimes receive fraudulent or inaccurate information from persons regarding the United States visa process and how to complete the necessary requirements for the application. This edition of Ask the Consul addresses visa process questions for non-US citizens who want to visit or immigrate to the United States.

Q: Can I get a visa without an interview?
NO! It is important to beware of callers who say they have a “contact” in the Consular Section at the United States Embassy and have the ability to get you a visa without an interview. All visa applicants must appear in person for a visa interview in order for the consular officer to determine whether or not they are qualified for that visa under United States immigration law and regulations.
Non-immigrant or temporary visitor visa interviews can be scheduled through the link located on the United States Embassy website georgetown.usembassy.gov. For immigrant visas, the United States National Visa Center schedules the interviews, and the applicant is then notified of the appointment through the mail.

Q:
Where do I pay the visa fee?
Applicants pay for their application at the time of their scheduled interview appointment at the US Embassy in Georgetown. The visa application and processing fee for most visa classes (B1, B2, C1, C1/D, F, M, J) is US$160, and is non-refundable even if you are found ineligible for a visa. For a complete listing of all visa application fees, please refer to the fee schedule on Travel.State.Gov: http://travel.state.gov/ visa/temp/types/types_1263.html. All fees must be paid in CASH-only on the date of appointment to the Embassy’s Cashier. All fees must be paid entirely in one currency (for example, you cannot pay $100 in US Dollars and the remainder in Guyana Dollars).
Remember that visa fees are accepted ONLY at the US Embassy in Georgetown; US Embassy Georgetown does not currently use any third party to collect the visa fees.

Q: Will I Get a Refund If I Am Not Approved For a Visa?
No. Application fees are the fees required to process your application and conduct an interview, regardless of the outcome of your interview. You will be given a receipt for the fees you paid, regardless of outcome, at the time of your interview.

Q: I just received a call that I need to get my medical exam for the immigrant visa application from a doctor that is not listed on the travel.state.gov website; and the caller instructed me to pay $175 for visa processing. Is this correct?

Medical Examinations are required in order to process an immigrant visa application. Immigrant visa applicants should complete their medical examinations with authorized physicians before their scheduled interview dates. Medical examinations performed by non-authorized physicians will not be accepted. The first step in preparing for the medical examination is to determine which doctors in your area are authorized to perform a medical examination for US immigration purposes.

The website http://travel.state.gov/ visa/immigrants/info/info_3739.html has a link that generates a list of the authorized physicians’ contact information for you to schedule your medical examination appointment, as well as instructions related to the required medical examination, including the fees associated with the exam. All fees for the medical exam should be paid to the authorized physicians. Any instructions outside of that process are not accurate and are possibly for fraudulent purposes.

Q: I just received a call that I won the Diversity Visa Lottery and I am going to receive a United States green card. All I have to do is pay $500 for visa processing. Is this true?

NO! The United States congress mandated the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program to make up to 55,000 diversity visas (DVs) available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries of persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Beware if someone calls or emails to tell you that you have won the Diversity Visa Lottery! Con artists may contact non-US citizens and tell them that they have won the Diversity Visa Lottery and/or a United States green card and instruct them to wire money. Individuals who applied for the Diversity Visa Lottery will not receive a notification letter or email from the United States Government, but instead, must check their status online.

Diversity Visa applicants can only find out if they were selected to continue with DV processing by checking their status online through the DV Entrant Status Check at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov. It is common for scammers to send fraudulent emails promising United States visas or “green cards” in return for a large fee. Legitimate fees for the DV application process are paid only to the US Embassy or consulate cashier at the time of your scheduled appointment, and you will be given a receipt by the cashier. The United States Government will never ask you to send payment in advance by check, money order, or wire transfer. More information on recognizing fraud and reporting it can be found at www.travel.state.gov/travel.
***
“Ask the Consul” is a fortnightly column from the US Embassy answering questions about US 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 “visa advisors/brokers”.
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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