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.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

WHILE the People’s National Movement (PNM) and United National Congress (UNC) are both claiming victory in Monday’s local government election, the bragging rights clearly belong to the UNC.

POLICE Commissioner Gary Griffith and Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi have apologised to the residents of Gulf View, in La Romaine, whose homes were raided in May as police searched for a kidnap victim.

The first thing that should be said about physical and/or verbal “retaliatory measures” by parents against teachers perceived to have punished or otherwise wronged their children during the course of in-school interaction is that it is, under any conceivable circumstance, altogether unacceptable.

Some of us like to party hearty. Fete all over the place. We like weddings and even funerals but making the effort to vote in a local government election is never a priority. If some 70 per cent of people eligible to vote decided that only general elections are really important, something is wrong.

The local government elections have ended, with both political parties claiming victory. But as I boldly predicted, the voter turnout was low, as it historically is, and I’d like to proffer a few reasons why.