USA Immigration: Visa Processing in Trinidad and Tobago
This article examines nonimmigrant visa processing at the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
The U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, is responsible for the adjudication of immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for nationals of Trinidad and Tobago. The embassy building is located at 15 Queen’s Park West, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The consular section processes the following visa types: B, C, D, E, F/M, H, I, J, L, O, P, Q, R, T, U, and TD/TN. Like the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain also processes E-1/E2 treaty investor visas. The nonimmigrant visa application in Port of Spain is similar to the processes previously described for Nassau and Bridgetown: complete DS-160 application online; register profile; pay visa fee at a branch of Scotiabank in Trinidad and Tobago; schedule appointment; and attend the interview. The current approximate wait time for a nonimmigrant visa interview in Port of Spain is one or two calendar days for most nonimmigrant visas, except for visitor visas, which are taking approximately fifty four (54) calendar days to schedule. Appointments may be expedited upon request on a case-by-case basis.
In March 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain instituted the Renewal Interview Waiver (RIW) initiative, which is “applicable to Trinbagonians whose visas have expired within the last year, or who have valid visas that will be expiring.” First-time applicants or those whose visas expired more than a year ago are still required to schedule an interview. The embassy has also established an Age Interview Waiver (AIW) program that allows persons who are under 14 and over 79 years of age to submit their visa applications by courier. RIW and AIW are not expedited visa programs, as successful applicants will typically have their passports and U.S. visas returned to them in about three-to-four weeks. Similar to the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain’s website is silent on the processing of nonimmigrant visa applications for third-country nationals. Third-country nationals seeking to apply for nonimmigrant visas at the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago face similar challenges as those applying in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Automatic Visa Revalidation
There is a special rule with regard to automatic visa revalidation that applies to students and exchange visitors in the United States who travel abroad to the Caribbean with an expired visa. Under the automatic visa revalidation provision of immigration law, individuals in F or J status can reenter the United States from Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands on an expired visa if:
• They are returning to the United States from a visit of less than thirty days; and
• They did not apply for a new visa while outside the United States; and
• They have with them a valid passport, an electronic copy of the I-94, appropriate financial documentation, and a valid I-20 signed for reentry.
The regulations define adjacent islands to include “Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Marie-Galante, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and other British, French and Netherlands territory or possessions bordering on the Caribbean Sea.”