by Linda Straker
- 10 September start date for online renewal of US visas
- Initiative falls under USA Caribbean Strategy 2020
Some Grenadians who need to renew their United States visas will not have to travel to Barbados as of 10 September 2018. They can seek renewal by applying online and then send their passport to the embassy using a courier service. The service will also be available to those who visas expired 12 months before the start of the announcement.
This was announced in a news briefing with US Ambassador to Grenada, Linda Swartz Taglialatela on Thursday, 6 September following a courtesy call paid to Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell. Dr Mitchell and Foreign Affairs Minister Peter David were also present in the cabinet room to witness the announcement.
“Hopefully this will encourage our relationship which I believe, and my government believes has been a warm and welcoming relationship for many years,” said Taglialatela who explained that the initiative falls under USA Caribbean Strategy 2020.
“One of the things is that we want to improve and enhance that relationship, and we want to inspire people to travel between our 2 countries and learn about the cultures and the people of those countries. This hopefully will assist a lot of Grenadians who are interested in going to the United States by being able to renew their visas online through the mail without having to come to Barbados,” she said.
The Caribbean 2020 Strategy coordinated with interagencies, identifies the Department of State and US Agency for International Development’s priorities for United States engagement with the Caribbean region in the areas of security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health.
Prime Minister and Minister for National Security Dr Keith Mitchell in response said, “This is exciting news for me and for the country as a whole. Having just had a short discussion with the ambassador, I had to indicate to her that this would go a long way in the importance of the relationship with the 2 countries.”
He said that many citizens have had to make enormous sacrifices to go to Barbados to renew visas. “The cost of that travel is quite prohibitive, and this initiative is making it easier for Grenadians to travel to the States,” he said.
The new initiative will go into effect as of 10 September and will be available to persons seeking Temporary Visitor visa, classified as B1 or B2; Alien Crew Member visa or C1 or D; Student or Exchange Visitor visa, categorised as F1, M1 or J1.
A news release from the USA Embassy in Bridgetown said that applicants who acquired Grenada citizenship via an economic citizenship programme and all third-country nationals will still be required to schedule a visa interview for visa renewals.
“Eligibility for interview waiver does not automatically entitle applicants to a waiver of the interview requirement. Meeting the general qualification for visa renewal interviews waiver does not guarantee that an applicant will not be requested to present him or herself in person for an interview at the embassy,” the release advised.