10 February 2011

US Embassy encourages visa applicants to beat summer rush

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The US Embassy is strongly encouraging residents of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands to apply now for any visas they may need during the summer travel season, particularly for cruise travel.

US Embassy

The US Embassy is encouraging early visa applications.

The US Embassy Consul, Robin Haase, said currently there is a very low wait time for an interview appointment for US visa applicants, in some cases no wait.

In contrast, during the busy student visa and travel season (May-September), the waiting period for an appointment increases from a few days to several weeks or more. In addition, there will be fewer available visa appointments between April 1 and April 15 due a computer software upgrade.

“If you are thinking about taking the family on a cruise or plan on visiting relatives abroad while the kids are on summer break, we encourage you to take advantage of the slower applicant season by applying for your US visas in February or March,” Haase said. 

Although most Bahamians can normally travel visa-free into the US if they travel on commercial air carriers,  Bahamians who are travelling to the US to board a cruise ship are required to hold valid US Visas.

“Because of the student visa rush between May and September, the US Embassy is unable to expedite visa appointments for vacation travellers. Exceptions will only be possible in cases of a clear emergency,” said Haase. 

“If you apply for your tourist visa now, instead of waiting until just before your trip, you will make sure that you will not miss your cruise or lose your deposit.”

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  US Visa to the US Embassy.

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