Straight Talk on Non-immigrant Visas
In this edition of our Ask-the-Consul article, we provide you with candid answers to some of the most popular questions you have about the status of non-immigrant visa processing in Guyana. Our goal is to manage your expectations so that you can make informed decisions about future travel.
Q: I never had a visa, but I would like to apply now to visit my friends and family for the summer. Why is the wait time for an appointment so long?
A: Fact: Consular Sections worldwide that process both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas must prioritize immigrant (permanent) visa applications, while still providing some nonimmigrant visa services.
While we have resumed processing of the full range of nonimmigrant visas, including tourism and business travel; there will continue to be extended wait times for appointments for routine travel given the current demand and the need to prioritize visa processing for thousands of applicants who have been waiting many years to immigrate to the United States.
Reality: Unfortunately, if you have not yet applied for a visitor’s visa, you are unlikely to receive an appointment for travel in 2022. Persons wishing to travel to visit friends and family are encouraged to plan and apply well in advance of any proposed travel dates. Before applying, you may review appointment wait times using the wait time tool at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas.html.
2. What if I have an urgent need to travel to the U.S?
A. We understand that there will be instances where someone must travel urgently to the U.S. for business or for some other emergency, such as medical treatment or during times of bereavement for immediate family members. In these instances, applicants may apply for an expedited appointment by following the instructions outlined under “Emergency Travel” at https://gy.usembassy.gov/visas/nonimmigrant-visas/.
Please note that while we understand that travel for events such as weddings, anniversaries, and birthday celebrations are important to family and friends, we are unable to approve expedite appointment requests for these events as priority must be given to more emergent humanitarian cases.
Q; I am renewing my visa and qualify for a waiver of the visa interview, but I still received an appointment date for several months into the future. I am confused. Is there a separate process to apply for a waiver of the interview?
A: No. There is no separate process to apply for a waiver of the visa interview for persons renewing a visa or for those who meet certain other age-related criteria, like children under age 14. Eligibility is automatically determined based on the answers provided to questions during the appointment scheduling process.
While you may have qualified for a waiver of the visa interview, you will still need an appointment to submit your application documents and passport to the Embassy. The appointment date you received is therefore not an interview date but rather an application submission date.
We acknowledge that the wait time for an appointment to submit renewal documents has grown significantly over the last few months, we are working on ways to process a larger capacity of renewal applications and anticipate that applicants will see a decline in wait times soon and those already scheduled may receive email notices for earlier appointment dates as our capacity expands.
Q: My visa will expire next month. Do I need to have at least 6 months validity left on the visa to be able to travel to the U.S?
A: No. You do not need to have a 6-month validity on your visa to travel to the United States.
Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. This means that you may seek to enter the U.S. at any time before your visa expires, even up to the day it expires!
When a CBP officer at the Port of Entry admits you into the United States for a specific period, s/he will note your authorized period of stay on your admission stamp. You will be able to remain in the United States during your authorized period of stay, even if your visa expires during the time you are in the United States.
Q: My visa is expiring in a few months, if I apply to renew it now, can I continue to use my current visa until I’m issued a new one?
A: Yes! Given the current wait for an appointment to submit renewal documents, we encourage applicants to schedule appointments at least a few months before their visas expire. This ensures that by the time the visa expires, you will have an appointment for re-issuance and therefore will not be left without a valid visa for long periods.
Applicants can continue to travel with their unexpired visas, even if a renewal application is pending. So early application is a win, win!
Q: My application was approved. How do I get my visa?
A: Once your visa has been printed, it will be sent to the local DHL office for you to pick-up. At this time, applicants can expect a wait of about 2 weeks for the visa to be ready. Do note that this wait time may fluctuate based on the volume of visas to be printed at any given time.
Applicants will receive an email notification once the visa has been sent to DHL and they will be able to pick-up 24 hours after receiving the notification.
Tip: When creating your account in the scheduling system at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-gy/niv, be sure to use an email address that YOU have access to, as this is the primary means used for notifications relating to visa pick-ups or notices of a rescheduled appointment.
“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.”