The United States Embassy is happy to answer some common questions that non-immigrant visa holders and applicants may have.
Passports, Visas, and Arrival/Departure Records (admission stamps) are official travel documents that foreign citizens travelling to the United States must have to enter the United States, and should keep in their possession while in the United States to show their legal status.
We encourage travelers to make a copy of their passport’s biographic page (the page with the picture and name, date of birth, etc.), as well as a copy of their U.S. visa, before travel. In case the passport is misplaced or stolen, this provides a helpful record. If the passport is lost after you enter the United States, you can recover the information from the admission stamp online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.
Q. I am in Guyana, and I lost my passport with a valid U.S. visa. What should I do?
A. You need to report your visa and passport as lost or stolen promptly. This will prevent someone else from using your visa to enter the United States under your name, and possibly committing crimes while pretending to be you. To report the loss or theft of your passport with valid U.S. visa:
Contact the nearest police station to report the loss/theft. You will be issued a police report detailing the incident. Don’t forget to make extra copies of the report for the embassy, for immigration to obtain a replacement passport, and for your own records.
Even before you are ready to replace the visa, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate which issued your visa. If it was issued in Georgetown, you can report this by sending an email to fpugeorge@ state.gov. Be sure to include your full name, date of birth, place of birth and address. Specifically state whether the visa was lost or stolen. If you have a copy of the passport and/or visa, scan and attach these to your email. Remember, the longer you wait, the more likely someone will try to use your visa – and your name – for illegal purposes.
Q. Great news! I found my passport/visa which was reported lost/ stolen. Can I travel to the U.S with it?
A. Maybe. You must first contact the Embassy or Consulate where you reported the loss or theft. If you skip this step and try to use the visa to enter the United States, you will likely be detained, questioned, and possibly refused entry, because immigration authorities will see that the visa was reported stolen and they will presume you are the thief. Once you report to us that you found the passport, we can usually update our records to show the visa was recovered. If, however, you have already applied for and received or were refused a new visa, you will be unable to use the old one.
Important: if you also reported the passport itself as lost or stolen to the Guyana immigration service or police (or to the passport authorities in whichever country issued the passport), you must speak to the passport office that issued your passport. Most countries, including the United States and Guyana, report lost and stolen passports to Interpol; if your passport has already been reported as lost or stolen to Interpol, this information is shared with all Interpol member countries and you may be stopped and detained by any of those countries. Only the passport authorities in the country that issued the passport will be able to tell you if the passport is still valid for travel.
Q. My passport with a valid U.S. visa was lost or stolen outside Guyana. Can I get a replacement visa?
A. While outside the United States, you may apply for a new visa, including filling out the application form and paying the fees. This is not an automatic process. You must (re)apply in person at a U.S. embassy or consulate and be found eligible for another visa. When applying for a visa that was previously reported lost or stolen, you will need to provide a police report or written account documenting the loss of your passport and visa, if you had not already done so by the means identified above.
If you lose your passport with U.S. visa while in the United States, it cannot be replaced while in the United States. Instead, report the stolen passport and visa to the police where it was lost or stolen, and contact your Embassy for assistance. Once you return to Guyana, you can apply for a new visa.
Q. I still have some questions about reporting my U.S. visa lost or stolen. Where can I get more information?
A. You can visit the embassy’s website at https://gy.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/ for information on applying for a non-immigrant visa and https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/lost-stolen-visas.html for additional information on lost and stolen passports, visas and other documents.
“Ask the Consul” from the U.S. Embassy Consular Section answers questions about U.S. immigration law, visa issues, and American Citizen Services. If you have a general question about visa policy, please email it to us at AskGeorge@state.gov. We select questions regularly and publish the answers in Stabroek News.
Information about visas and travel can be viewed at https://gy.usembassy.gov, http://travel.state.gov, and http://www.dhs.gov. Information about American Citizen Services can be found at https://gy.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. Regulations change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate, incomplete and inaccurate information.