Long wait ahead for Jamaicans seeking US visa

Stephen Black, Deputy Consul General at the US Embassy in Kingston
People in Jamaica seeking to apply for a US visa could have to wait more than a year to get an appointment for an in-person interview.
Stephen Black, Deputy Consul General at the US Embassy in Kingston, said this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Black, who was speaking on Wednesday with Beyond the Headlines host Dionne Jackson Miller, disclosed that the embassy is maintaining physical distancing for the safety of applicants and its staff. 
"We are offering an extremely limited slate of appointments available on a first-come, first-served basis. Let's be honest, because we are operating at such reduced levels and because demand for visas here remains high, because many people enjoy the opportunity or would like the opportunity to visit the United States, currently, the number of appointments that are available is not going to be sufficient for demand, at least in the short term," he revealed.    
People renewing a US tourist visa may be eligible for an interview waiver.  
But only those whose visa expired less than four years ago and were issued the visa in Jamaica are eligible.
Mr. Black said people who qualify will be informed via the US Embassy's website and will be asked to download a letter that indicates they qualify for the interview waiver. 
Applicants will have to print and submit the letter, along with their passport, to the embassy for processing. 
According to Mr. Black, the completion of the process could take one to two weeks, or four to six weeks "depending on how busy we are". 

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