Consular Information for American Expatriates in Guyana
Are you an American citizen living and working in Guyana? Get to know us at the U.S. Embassy and learn about all that we can do for you! In this edition of our Ask-the-Consul, we are providing some Consular tips for the many American expatriates working in Guyana.
Q: I am a U.S. citizen with a one-year work assignment in Georgetown. Should I notify the U.S. Embassy of my presence in Guyana?
A: Absolutely! The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown is responsible for the welfare and protection of U.S. citizens in Guyana, so we encourage all U.S. citizens traveling to, or living in Guyana, to register their presence by enrolling for free in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Register with us regardless of the length of time you will be here.
Q: How do I benefit from letting the Embassy know I’m in Guyana?
A: Enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) will allow us to give you timely information about safety conditions in Guyana and to contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency.
Q: I’m traveling with my family. Does each person need to enroll separately?
A: If you are traveling with immediately family members (for example, your spouse, children, parents, or siblings) who will be together for the entire trip, one person can enroll the trip and then list the others in the “accompanying travelers” section.
Q: If I don’t enroll, but I need assistance while in Guyana, will the Embassy still help me?
A: Yes, of course. But we will not be able to proactively contact you if we have important information about safety or security conditions in the area you are traveling. If there is a crisis or an emergency, it is much easier for us to assist travelers who have previously enrolled their trip information with us.
Q: What about other personal emergencies, such as if my passport gets lost/stolen or if I need urgent medical assistance?
A: Yes, we’re here for that too! Our Consular Officers in our American Citizen Services Unit can help you get a replacement passport to return home or assist if you become the victim of a crime, are arrested, or experience a death in the family while in Guyana.
Q: What other services are available outside of emergency assistance?
A: In addition to assisting in cases of emergencies, Consular Officers are ready to serve fellow U.S citizens by:
- Processing standard U.S. passport applications, such as renewals.
- Registering your child’s birth in Guyana and issuing a U.S. passport to him/her.
- Notarizing documents.
- Assisting with absentee voting, federal benefits, and so much more!
See all that we can do for you at https://gy.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/.
Q: How about U.S. visas? I fell in love while in Guyana and would like to take my Guyanese spouse back with me to the U.S. when my work assignment ends. Can you help with that?
A: Congrats on the marriage! Once you have your marriage certificate, you may file an I-130 immigrant visa petition directly with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for your spouse. You may file this petition electronically at https://www.uscis.gov/i-130. Once the petition is approved by USCIS, it will first go to the National Visa Center for pre-processing, and then it will come to us for final visa processing. The entire process typically takes about 12 – 18 months. You should consider this when planning your transition back to the U.S.
Q: I met someone in Guyana, but we prefer to have our wedding in the United States. What kind of visa would be appropriate in this case?
A: As a U.S. citizen, you may sponsor your fiancé by filing an I-129F petition with USCIS. More information on this process can be found at https://www.uscis.gov/i-129f. Once approved, the petition will be sent to the Embassy for visa processing. This process takes approximately 9 – 12 months.
Q: I have a few other questions not covered here. How may I reach someone at the Embassy?
A: We encourage you to bookmark and review our U.S. Citizen Services page on our website https://gy.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you still need assistance, you may email our American Citizen Services Section at ACSGeorge@state.gov.
“Ask the Consul” is a monthly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. Detailed information about visas and travel can be viewed at https://gy.usembassy.gov/, https://ais.usvisa-info.com/ and https://travel.state.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. Please contact our Visa Information Service Center on toll free numbers: 1-877-246-6788 or 703-988-5765 if you have general visa questions.”