Question:

Dear Consul,

I’m leading a martial arts team to Florida, USA, in April next year for an exhibition. Can I apply on behalf of the children by bringing their passports to the interview?

Sincerely, Visa Applicant

Answer:

Thank you for your enquiry. All members of the team will need to follow the regular visa application process. In the case of minors under the age of 18, at least one parent should attend the interview and bring along information to support the application, such as the child’s birth certificate. Applicants over the age of 14 must appear in person. You can appear on behalf of a child only if they are under 14 years and you are the parent.

Nonimmigrant visa applicants are required to complete the DS-160 electronic application form, register online, pay the application fee in person at a local Scotiabank, schedule an appointment and attend a visa interview.

Once the applications are complete, you can schedule all the appointments for the same day. Please reach out to the Consular Section via e-mail at consularpos@state.gov for guidance on creating online profiles and scheduling the group interviews. Please include in your e-mail the full names and passport numbers of all applicants as well as the date, destination and purpose of travel.

If you would like to accompany the team to the US Embassy, and do not have an appointment yourself, please e-mail consularpos@state.gov at least five business days before the scheduled appointment date for permission to enter the consular waiting room with them.

On the appointment date, each group member will have their own interview and should bring their valid passport, DS-160 confirmation page, payment receipt, and a recent passport-sized photo (solid white background, with no spectacles). Additional documents are not required but may be requested to establish if the applicant is qualified. For example, additional information may include evidence of the purpose of travel and proof of ability to pay for all costs of the trip.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate that he/she is qualified for the visa. Membership in a group or team does not guarantee an applicant will receive a visa. Based on the visa interview, a consular officer will determine whether the individual team member is qualified to receive a visa.

We encourage teams to apply at least three months prior to their trip in order to allow sufficient time to secure appointments and complete visa processing and passport delivery.

If a visa is approved on the day of the interview, passports are returned in seven to ten working days.

• For more information on the nonimmigrant visa application process, please visit trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com and tt.usembassy.gov. You may also follow our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ttusa.

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Although it comes at an unbearably high price, the COVID-19 pandemic brings opportunities for change that have been long needed but have hitherto gone to waste.

My headline today is not a typographical error. As suggested below, it is still uncertain whether the Government’s policy of siq, that is separate, isolate and quarantine, is a sound enough response to our COVID-19 crisis. We just don’t know yet.

COVID-19 is shaking civilisation to its core. Over one million persons are infected in 200 countries and over 55,000 have already died. Economies, industrialised and developing, are reeling. Global supply chains are being broken and the threat of shortages hangs in the air.

When we will have overcome the COVID-19 multi-pronged attack on Trinidad and Tobago, we will face associated problems ranging from the economy under severe stress such as it has never been before, with unemployment at a crisis level, disruption of the education system leaving all stakeholders confused, and possible shortage of foods.

The action taken by the Government over the past two or three weeks with respect to control and containment of the COVID-19 virus, which has been in line, by and large, with the action taken by other countries, ought to be supported if we are to weather this virulent epidemic.

It is a well-established truism that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

On the basis of and in recognition of this reality, conversations are taking place among various professional and sectoral elites about how not to let this moment pass without taking advantage of it.