Categorized | National News

Changes To US Visa Application Process

With thousands planning on travelling to the United States this summer or needing to apply for student visa for studies in the fall, officials at the United States Embassy are advising applicants to begin the application process now.

Members of the press were apprised of some changes in the visa application process, which affect everyone, during a media roundtable at the embassy yesterday.

Nassau Embassy Non-Immigrant Visa Chief Sally Sterno said worldwide visa applicants must present a number of documents including a passport, which must be valid for at least six months after the time of application.

“If you are planning to travel in August, then you really should begin the application process now,” said Ms. Sterno.

Additionally applicants must now present a job letter, a marriage licence in some cases and now even a bank statement.

“The whole purpose of all these documents is for applicants to build a strong case for themselves in terms of proving strong ties to The Bahamas,” she said.

“We assess a number of things including past travel to the US and an applicant’s ability to prove strong family ties. Proof of strong family ties makes it more believable that an applicant will in fact return to The Bahamas and will not over stay their time in the United States.”

For those who may not be familiar with the visa application process, Ms. Sterno explained that it begins with the purchase of a scratch card from any visa facilitator or any local gas station.

That scratch card directs you to call an 800 number in Mexico to make an appointment. Next, applicants must fill out the DS160 form online at

Applicants should also note that their photo must also be uploaded online. Upon completion, applicants should print the confirmation page and take that along with all supporting documents to the embassy.

“For the most part Bahamian travellers are good travellers,” she said.

“A typical Bahamian wants to go to Sawgrass Mills for the weekend and come right back. So we hardly have instances of Bahamians becoming out of status.”

The embassy has also tried to make things easier for out island applicants through its Family Islands Wednesdays’ campaign, where Family Island applicants are able to fly in in the morning and make their appointments between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Applicants are also advised that visa application fees have increased from a non-refundable $140 to $160.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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