Categorized | National News

U.S. Embassy Official Explains Visa Fee

If you’re looking for someone to blame for the costly $160 U.S. visa fee, blame Congress.

U.S. Chargé d’ Affaires John Dinkelman explained yesterday why visa applicants have to fork over one Benjamin and three Jacksons for the travel document.

“That fee is not set by the Department of State, that fee is set by the American Congress. Congress informs and instructs the department what we must charge and that fee is not a Bahamian fee; that fee is for everybody,” he explained Sunday during an interview on Jones & Company.

The $160, he noted, is for the adjudication process.

If visa applicants don’t qualify for a U.S. visa, however, they are not be refunded.

“It is not a fee for the visa; it is a fee for the adjudication, which makes it frustrating. But once one completes the form, submits the form and makes the payment at any Cash-N-Go, and I think in a few months we’re going to have the ability to do that by credit card . . .then one is given the appointment, which I believe amounts to only a two day wait. So, theoretically, someone who wanted to be in the states on a visa on Saturday could fill out their form right now,” he said.

Mr. Dinkelman said contrary to what has been said the turnaround time for a U.S. visa is very quick.

“If somebody in The Bahamas would like an interview for a visa I believe the wait now after having put in one’s application, is less than two days. I’m very happy to say that we have made tremendous progress in a year-and-a-half mitigating any of that wait,” he said.

“We, like the rest of the world, have gone to the internet where anything and everything that is conveyed is usually first done electronically through the wires that I fail to understand, but my children do quite easily and quickly. The reality is that if an individual wants to travel to the United States from The Bahamas, a Bahamian individual, for vacation or a simple visit, we already know that no visa is required. This is virtually unique in that I believe only Canadians and Bahamians may casually travel in such a way as to go through pre-clearance and land in the United States with nothing more than a passport and a quick stamp.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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