US Embassy working on plan for phased reopening
Q: Is the Consular Section open? Are you processing visas?
A: The Consular Section is open but is currently only processing emergency and mission critical cases, with limited staffing.
Due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has suspended routine visa services worldwide. Here in Jamaica, we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and the Jamaican public safe by adhering to guidance on social distancing, use of cloth face coverings, regular hand washing, and cleaning of surfaces.
The Consular Section is currently processing H-2 visa cases that do not require an in-person interview — this includes H-2A and H-2B visas. We are also taking emergency visa requests for truly urgent and dire cases, such as family emergencies or medical necessities. Procedures for seeking an emergency expedite can be found at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-jm/niv/information/faqs or by contacting KingstonNIV@ state.gov
Q: When will the Consular Section resume normal operations and how do I reschedule my appointment that was cancelled?
A: We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible, but we are unable to provide a specific date at this time. We are working actively on a plan for phased reopening based on guidance from Washington, DC, and taking into account the situation here in Jamaica.
Please note that if you had an existing non-immigrant visa appointment, the MRV fee paid is valid and may be used for a visa application in the country where it was purchased, within one year of the date of payment. For those wishing to make routine visa appointments, they should continue to monitor the website for when routine services resume, and book their appointment online at that time.
Q: What is the status of the J1 Summer Work and Travel Programme?
A: We know the J visa programmes, particularly Summer Work and Travel, are very popular in Jamaica. While we hope to be able to resume processing in the future, J visa processing is subject to the current worldwide suspension of routine US visa services and, unfortunately, we cannot give a date or estimated timeline for when that will change. The only exceptions currently in place are J visas related to medical residency programmes. If you are either engaging in or returning to a medical residency programme in the United States, please reach out to KingstonNIV@state.gov for assistance.
Q: How do I extend my non-immigrant status if I am in the United States and have been impacted by border closures due to COVID-19?
A: Non-immigrant visitors to the United States are typically given a set period of time during which they are permitted to stay in the country. This is noted on the date stamp in your passport or on the paper Form I-94 as your “Admit until date”. You must depart the United States by that date or you will be considered to have overstayed your visa.
If you are unable to leave the United States due to COVID-19 travel restrictions or other reasons and are approaching your admit until date, you must file a request to extend your status with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the Form I-539, ‘Application to Extend/Change Non immigrant Status’ before your authorised stay expires. An overstay can affect your ability to re-enter the United States or obtain a visa in the future, so it is important to apply for an extension of stay to avoid difficulties. Please visit https://www.uscis.gov/ for more information on the process.
The latest information on the closure can be found at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-jm/niv/information/announcements . You can find more information on our website, www.jm.usembassy.gov or by visiting www.travel.state.gov Keep on top of embassy news on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/USEmbassyJamaica/ and by following @USEmbassyJA on Twitter . We also answer general visa questions on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
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