US Consulate will provide two appointments to request visas
SANTO DOMINGO. Starting tomorrow a new system to request visas to the United States goes into service, a process that will imply a reduction in costs and will be much more agile, according to Sylvia Johnson, the consul general of the United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic.
Q. What changes does the new format for requesting non-immigrant visas have?
A. The most significant change starting on 12 November 2014 consists in the fact that the applicant will need to program two appointments in order to carry out the application process for a visa without having to buy a PIN. The appointments can be programmed online through the webpage www.ustraveldocs.com or by telephone calling our call center at 829 – 956 – 5144, at no additional cost.
The first appointment that the applicant must program will be to attend the new Visa Attention Center, called “VAC” for its initials, and that is located at the Galeria 360 mall on John F. Kennedy Avenue. At the VAC they will take both the photograph as well as the fingerprints of the applicant. The second appointment, in cases that it is required, will be on the premises of the United States Embassy in order to have an interview with a consular official.
It is important to remember that the decision regarding a visa will be taken at the embassy, as always. The personnel at the VAC will not approve or deny a visa application, this continues being a decision of the consular officials.
Q. With the new process can I save time and money? What advantages does it have in comparison with the previous system?
A. Now, the visa application fee is going to cover all the services for the visa including the programming of the two appointments, the delivery of the passport and attention to the applicant. All these services implied an additional cost in the previous system.
The visit to the VAC should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The interview process at the embassy will be faster because we can accommodate more applicants per day and, therefore, waiting time for appointments will be reduced significantly. In general, the applications that are authorized are processed and sent in less than a week, and this will not very with the new system.
Q. If I request a visa for the first time, what steps should I take?
A. First, you should fill out online the application form for a non-immigrant visa, DS – 160, available on the Internet site http://ceac.state.gov, , the same as before. It is important to fill out that application correctly.
The second step is to create a profile on the webpage of the VAC: www.ustraveldocs.com, with which you will obtain a receipt indicating the exact amount in pesos that you should pay at any branch of the Banco Popular. For applicants of tourist visas, the fee to be paid will not change, and it is the equal in pesos of US$160. You should also choose the place where you would prefer to pick up your passport.
A day after making the payment, you will be able to program the two appointments in order to go to the VAC and the Embassy.
Then depending on the day of your appointment you will visit the installations of the “VAC”, which is located in Galeria 360 on John F. Kennedy Avenue. You should present your passport, receipt of payment, and your confirmation sheet of the DS – 160. The personnel of the VAC will take your photograph and your fingerprints.
If it is necessary, later on you will have to have an interview with a consular official at the embassy. We recommend that you arrive at the embassy no more than 15 minutes before your appointment. You present your passport and any other document that will support for your request. After the interview, you can pick up your passport and visa at the VAC or at one of the offices of the company called Mailboxes Etc. located in different points of the city and the country.
Q. If I’m going to renew a visa, should I have an interview with the consul?
A. With this new system, the majority of the applicants who desire to renew their visa, as long as it is the same type, do not need to have an interview at the embassy. It is possible that some applicants only need to program an appointment at the VAC, or they might be eligible to deposit their application directly in an office of Mailboxes Etc. in order to do this, it is necessary that the applicants answer a series of questions when they are programming their appointments in order to determine if they are eligible for a renewal without an interview. Those applicants should deposit the form DS – 160, have a photograph taken and register their fingerprints at the VAC.
In the case of the applicants in the process of renewal of visas that have taken their 10 fingerprints in a previous application, they will only have to deposit their application, without a need to visit the VAC or the embassy. Those applicants simply should deposit their application photograph and payment receipt at the VAC or any branch of the Mailboxes Etc. in the Dominican Republic.
The embassy reserves the right to call any applicant in for an interview, if there is some doubt regarding the case that needs to be cleared up.
Q. How will the new Visa Attention Center at the Galeria 360 function?
A. By means of the Visa Attention Center the applicant can begin a great part of the process of requesting a visa. The applicant will visit the VAC in order to deposit the application DS – 160, register his fingerprints and take the required photograph. In another way, the applicant will not have to take photographs to his appointment. Depending on the case the applicant also can leave passports for renewal or pickup passports with the visas.
Q. Once the documents are deposited at the Visa Attention Center, when will the interview take place?
A. In a majority of the cases, the appointment for the interview will be the next working day, after your visit to the VAC, but the applicant can choose at his convenience when he wants to program his interview appointment online or through the call center.
Q. When should you use the boxes at Mailboxes, and does this include an additional cost?
A. The new visa process incorporates all the services of the application process for a visa in one single fee, including the delivery of the passport after the interview.
The applicants can pick up their passports directly at the VAC or at one of the 12 branches of Mailboxes Etc. in the Dominican Republic, located in Santo Domingo, Santiago, San Cristobal, Las Terrenas, and La Romana. They can visit the webpage http://mbe.com.do/contactenos/sucursales in order to obtain information on contacting them. As the appointment is programmed the applicants should select one of the available delivery centers. In case they desire to change the branch where they are going to pick up their passport, they have until midnight of the day of the interview to carry out the change, whether it is through www.ustraveldocs.com, or calling the call center.
Q. If a person lives in the provinces can he carry out all of the process on one single day?
A. The applicants that come from far away points of the country can attend both appointments on the same day. This will be determined when the applicant calls all request his appointment over the Internet. At this time it will be decided if this benefit can be applied taking into account the information that he or she has presented.
Category: DR News |