Rush on US visas in Jamaica

All interview dates for non-immigrant US visas in Jamaica have been filled for the rest of 2016, according to the US Embassy in Kingston. The embassy says that demand for US visas is so great that as many as 1000 appointments per day are already scheduled.

By definition, a non-immigrant US visa is one given to someone living outside the US who wishes to visit the country temporarily for business, study or vacation. The Jamaica Observer reports that many Jamaicans say that getting interview dates for the last four months of 2016 has been a challenge. Travel agents tell them that there has been an uncommonly large number of requests made to the US Embassy.

Applications can be made online direct to the US Embassy but many people have chosen to use the services offered by travel agents, who for a fee, will secure interview dates for their clients. There is now concern in many areas, though. Many Jamaicans have been forced to cancel plans to visit the US later in the year to spend time with friends and family at events such as Thanksgiving.

The rise in applications has put a strain on the US Embassy. Counselor for public affairs, Joshua Polacheck, says that the number of US visas currently being processed by the embassy is “unprecedented” and has risen from 85,000 to as much as 185,000 within the space of three years.