Second citizenship

Where and how to get a US visa for Caribbean citizens and EU residents

Citizens of most EU countries are allowed visa-free entry to the United States. With a Caribbean passport, you can get a US visa for ten years and extend it remotely. Vanuatu citizens can get a US visa for five years.

Getting a USA visa

There are immigrant and non-immigrant visas in the USA. Immigrant visas are obtained by foreigners who will move to the USA and have grounds for getting a residence permit in the country. Non-immigrant visas are issued for tourist trips, study, treatment, and business.

Coronavirus travel restrictions in the USA

From November 8, 2021, only foreigners who have completed an entire vaccination course against coronavirus are allowed into the United States. The vaccine must be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the World Health Organization. The list of approved vaccines includes:

  1. Moderna.
  2. Pfizer.
  3. Jansen.
  4. Sinopharm.
  5. Sinovac.
  6. AstraZeneca (including Covishield).

There is an exception for children under 18 and people with contraindications to vaccination against coronavirus.

Before boarding an aircraft, travellers over two years of age must present a negative coronavirus test result. It must be done within one day before departure to the USA.

US immigrant visas are difficult to obtain: you need to be a close relative of an American citizen, a highly qualified specialist in a narrow field, a refugee, or a winner of the green card lottery.

If a foreigner invests more than $800,000 in a company in the USA and employs ten people, he will be able to get an EB-5 immigrant investor visa.

Foreigners with an immigrant visa enter the country on it and, after a while, apply for a green card — a permanent residence permit in the United States. After five years, you can get citizenship by naturalisation, and if the green card was issued based on marriage with a US citizen — after three years.

Non-immigrant visas have been hard to get lately because US consular offices in many countries operate in a limited regime due to the pandemic. For example, the mission may not accept applications for non-immigrant visas.

US embassies sometimes process immigrant visa applications involving only vital emergencies or an age-expiring date. For example, children of US citizens can only get an immigrant visa without quotas and queues until they are 21 years old. If such an applicant turns 21 soon, they will be scheduled for an interview.

Where to apply for US non-immigrant visas

Applicants are eligible to obtain a non-immigrant visa from any US embassy or consulate that accepts non-residents. But most embassies have stopped taking non‑residents due to coronavirus restrictions.

US embassies and consulates around the world operate in one of three modes:

  1. They do not accept visa applications from non-residents and have officially announced this — for example, the US Embassy in Podgorica (Montenegro).

  2. They accept visa applications from non-residents but do not offer them available time slots for an interview, which is clarified after the payment of the visa fee. For example, the US Embassy in Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) does this.

    Visa fee receipts are valid for one year from the payment date, so refusing to make an appointment for an interview is not against the law. However, non-residents are required to schedule interviews before the receipt expires or extend the validity of the receipt.

  3. They accept visa applications from non-residents, but only those fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in the country or who have spent 7—14 days in quarantine in one of its specialised hotels are allowed to interview.

    For example, to pass an interview at the US Embassy in Seoul (South Korea), you need to spend two weeks in quarantine in a specialised hotel. Living in a Korean hotel for two weeks will be from $1,500. The vaccination certificate does not exempt from quarantine.

Countries with the mildest requirements for non-residents

Country and US embassyConditions for entering the country
Mauritius, US Embassy in Port LouisPCR test for boarding and upon arrival

Vaccination certificate or 14 days in quarantine
Oman, US Embassy in MuscatVaccination certificate 
Bahrain, US Embassy in ManamaPCR test on arrival, self-isolation until results are available
Tunisia, US Embassy in TunisiaVaccination certificate or PCR test

You can find estimated waiting times for visa interviews at each US embassy at travel.state.gov. The term is indicated for citizens and residents of the country, non‑residents will have to wait longer. 

The situation is constantly changing, so we recommend that non-residents check with representatives of embassies and consulates whether the consul will be able to receive them. This can be done by phone or email.

Applicants with dual citizenship or residency can obtain a US visa from the US embassy or consulate where they have official status. However, to not be denied a visa, you also need to confirm the connection with the country, e.g. the presence of permanent housing — real estate owned or rented for one year or more.

EU and other European residents and citizens can obtain a visa in the country that issued the residence permit card or passport.

Registration for interviews for student and work visas is open one to two weeks in advance. Invitations for a category B visa interview will have to wait longer. The exception is medical visas: if the need for treatment in the United States is confirmed, applicants are likely to be accepted without waiting in line.

Since March 13, 2020, entry from the Schengen countries has been prohibited into the United States; therefore, US embassies in the European Union have not issued B-1/B-2 visas for tourist and business trips. However, from November 8, 2021, vaccinated citizens of Schengen countries are allowed to enter the United States, and US embassies in European countries are gradually resuming appointments for B visa interviews.

US embassy in Prague, Czech Republic: Getting a US Visa
The US embassy in Prague has resumed accepting applications for non-immigrant visas. Only EU citizens and residents and their close relatives are able to enter the Czech Republic for an interview

Travel for Caribbean nationals to the USA. There is no visa-free travel for Caribbean nationals to the USA. Therefore they need to get visas before trips. 

The Caribbean countries belong to the consular district of the US Embassy in Bridgetown (Barbados). Here they issue visas to investors who have received Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Dominica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, or Saint Lucia citizenship.

You can get to Bridgetown by direct flight or with a transit in London. 

On October 12, 2021, the US Embassy in Bridgetown suspended the issuance of non‑immigrant visas due to the coronavirus pandemic. An applicant may request an emergency interview for the B-1/B-2, C1/D, F, J, and M visa categories. The Consular Section also processes applications from those eligible for an interview waiver and remote visa application.

To obtain a US visitor visa, Caribbean citizens can schedule an interview at any other US embassy or consulate that accepts non-residents. For example, the US Embassy in Vienna (Austria).

Caribbean citizens do not need a visa to enter Austria, but they will need:

  1. Complete online registration.
  2. Present a negative test for coronavirus, a certificate of past illness, or a vaccination certificate.
  3. Spend 5 to 10 days in quarantine. Those who present a vaccination certificate with an approved drug or a certificate on recovery from COVID-19 within the last 180 days are exempted from quarantine.

Vanuatu belongs to the consular district of the US Embassy in Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea). Vanuatu citizens undergo visa interviews there.

To enter Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu citizens receive a visa upon arrival. You need to pay a visa fee of $50 online and submit an application to do this.

There is no queue for interviews. The consular department has been working as usual since September 20, 2021.

You can get to Port Moresby on a direct flight or transfer, for example, in Doha, Dubai, Hong Kong, or Singapore. PCR tests must be passed before boarding the first flight and upon arrival at Port Moresby Airport.

From September 24, Papua New Guinea has a ruling that only fully vaccinated foreigners against coronavirus can enter the country. The following vaccines have been approved: Moderna, Pfizer, Janssen, Sinopharm, Sinovac, AstraZeneca.

Vanuatu citizens can enter the US without proof of vaccination on any non-immigrant visa other than B‑1/B‑2.

How to get a US visa to travel and buy a property

Our client’s goal was to buy an apartment in the USA. He wanted to purchase one in Boston. Real estate prices are growing by about 8% per year, so the demand for apartments is high. It was impossible to delay: the investor had no more than two months to get to the USA and make a deal.

We helped the investor get a Vanuatu passport — this country has the fastest citizenship by investment program in the world. After that, he received a US visa the day after the interview in Port Moresby.

The investor managed to arrive in the United States on time: he inspected the apartments and concluded a contract of sale personally.

Case study

How to get a US non-immigrant visa

To obtain a visa, you need to fill out an online visa application form, pay the consular fee and make an appointment for an interview at the US consulate or embassy. All applicants come to the interview in person and bring the necessary documents. During the procedure, they scan fingerprints.

The term for obtaining a visa, the amount of the visa fee, and the list of documents to be submitted at the interview depends on the purpose of the applicant's trip.

The main types of non-immigrant US visas

Type of visaVisa feePurpose of the trip
Guest visa B-1/B-2$160 Business: negotiations with business partners, attendance at scientific, educational, professional events and conferences, resolution of property and legal issues

Recreational: tourism, visiting friends and relatives, volunteering

Getting medical care
Student visa: F, MStudying at a university, college, private high school, or in an English language course
Visa for exchange programs: JParticipation in student exchange programs

Exchange teaching activities

Research activities
Work visa: H, L, O, P, Q, R$190Working in the country for certain categories of professionals: highly qualified workers, athletes, entertainment workers, participants in cultural exchange programs, religious figures, individuals with extraordinary abilities, as well as employees who are temporarily transferred to a branch of an international company in the United States
Investment visa: E-2$205 Investment in a US company

The questionnaire for all types of visas is the same — the DS-160 form. All applicants complete it online and in English only. It takes about an hour and a half to complete.

Other documents applicants bring to the interview. The following documents will be required:

  • a passport that expires at least six months after the end of the trip;
  • all old passports, in case of availability;
  • a photograph 5×5 cm, which has been taken within the last six months and meets the requirements;
  • a printed letter with an invitation to an interview;
  • a printed confirmation page of the application;
  • booking round-trip tickets and other information about the itinerary of the trip;
  • a document confirming that the applicant has a permanent place of residence outside the United States;
  • documents confirming solvency: bank statements, tax payments, the presence of property, business shares, and other assets;
  • for students — a certificate from the university;
  • for employees — a certificate from the place of work indicating the position, salary, duration of the period of work in this organisation, approval of a vacation, or purpose of a business trip to the United States.

Additional documents for obtaining a US non-immigrant visa 

Type of visaDocuments
Guest medical visa Letter from the attending physician stating the diagnosis, the nature of the disease, and the reason for seeking medical care in the United States

A letter from a doctor in the United States stating the planned duration of treatment and the cost of medical services

Statement of financial responsibility of individuals and legal entities paying for the applicant's trip and covering all expenses
Student visaI-20 form approved by an educational institution or administrator of the applicable program

Documents on education: school certificate, certificate of passing the exam, diploma, certificates of knowledge of the English language
Visa for exchange programsApproved DS-2019 form provided by US program management

Documents on education: school certificate, diploma, certificates of knowledge of English
Work visaI-129 petition form approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services

Documents confirming professional qualifications, including diplomas of higher education

Certificates from the current and past places of work indicating the position, nature, and duration of work

Payslips from current or last job

Surnames, names, and telephone numbers of the heads of personnel services of the current and previous places of work

CV

The E-2 investor visa is available to citizens of countries with which the United States has a Trade and Navigation Treaty.

E-2 treaty countries

Australia Kyrgyzstan Slovakia
Austria Colombia Slovenia
Azerbaijan Congo Suriname
Albania Kosovo Thailand
Argentina Costa Rica Taiwan (China)
Armenia Latvia Togo
Bangladesh Liberia Trinidad and Tobago
Bahrain Lithuania Tunisia
Belgium Luxembourg Turkey
Bulgaria Morocco Ukraine
Bolivia Mexico Philippines
Bosnia and Herzegovina Moldova Finland
Great Britain Mongolia France
Germany Netherlands Croatia
Honduras New Zealand Montenegro
Grenada Norway Czech
Georgia Oman Chile
Denmark Pakistan Switzerland
Egypt Panama Sweden
Israel Paraguay Sri Lanka
Jordan Poland Estonia
Ireland Romania Ethiopia
Spain North Macedonia Yugoslavia
Italy Senegal South Korea
Kazakhstan Serbia Jamaica
Cameroon Singapore Japan
Canada
Show more Show less

The Е-2 country list includes Grenada, a country with a citizenship by investment program. Foreigners get a Grenada passport within six months for investments from $150,000.

Investors with a Grenada passport get an E-2 visa for 5 years. You can extend the visa an unlimited number of times, provided that the company in which the applicant has invested has not stopped working and making a profit.

Step-by-step procedure for obtaining a non-immigrant US visa

1. Select a US embassy or consulate where the applicant will receive a visa

Before applying, we recommend contacting the embassy staff and clarifying the details: how long to wait for an interview, whether it is necessary to observe quarantine before it.

2. Fill out the DS-160 form — a single application for all types of visas — on ceac.state.gov

The form is filled out only online and only in English.

3. Create an applicant's account on ais.usvisa-info.com

The personal account belongs to the selected representative office. If the applicant subsequently decides to be interviewed at another embassy or consulate, he will need to submit a request to transfer his account. It will take some time.

4. Pay the visa fee using the link from your account

In case of refusal to issue a visa, the money is not returned. The fee payment receipt is only valid at the selected embassy. If you transfer your account to another embassy after paying the fee, you will need to pay it again.

5. Sign up for an interview with the consul at evisaforms.state.gov

When registering, you will need to enter three numbers: a passport, a receipt for payment, and a barcode from the DS-160 application confirmation page.

6. Prepare the necessary documents

Documents are not sent to the embassy in advance. Therefore, you will need to bring the original documents to the interview.

7. Come to the interview with a package of documents

You will need a valid passport, all old passports, a photograph, a printed letter with an invitation to an interview, and an application confirmation page.

8. Get fingerprinted during the interview

Fingerprints are not required for children under the age of 14 or repeat applicants who have already been fingerprinted at this US mission. If applicants receive their visas at another embassy, ​​they must be fingerprinted again.

9. Get a passport with a visa

You can check the status of your application at ceac.state.gov. When the decision is made, the passport is sent to the applicant by an accredited courier service. You cannot come to the embassy or consulate in person and pick up your passport.

Who can get a US visa remotely and how to do it

The United States has an Interview Waiver Program that allows obtaining a non-immigrant visa without an interview with a consul. Children under 14, seniors over 80, and applicants who previously had a valid US visa can participate in the program without an interview. They need to meet specific requirements.

Requirements for applicants who are eligible for a remote visa application

ApplicantRequirements
Children under 14The child has never been denied a visa or the child has already been granted a visa after being denied

The child's previous US visa was not lost or stolen

At least one parent already has a valid B-1/B-2 visa to the United States. If the parent's visa has recently expired and is applying for an extension, the child's application must be submitted at the same time as the parent's application, and a photocopy of the recently expired visa
Senior citizens over 80The previous visa was not revoked, cancelled due to an immigration violation, lost or stolen

They have never been denied a visa or have been granted a visa after being denied

Applying for a B-1/B-2 visa
Repeat applicantsApplying for a visa category B, F, M, or J

Extend the visa of the same category. If the purpose of the trip is education, the previous visa can be of any category

Applying to the same US embassy that issued their previous visa

Applying to the US embassy prescribed for their citizenship or permanent residence

The previous visa was not revoked, cancelled due to an immigration violation, lost or stolen

The previous visa expired less than 4 years ago

When filling out the DS-160 form, the applicant chooses the date on which he will be able to submit a package of documents for a visa to the United States at one of the VFS Global document delivery points. When the application is accepted, you will receive an email confirmation of the date and refusal of the interview.

The letter must be printed and included in the package of sent documents. It would help if you also had a completed checklist for refusing an interview.

When applying for a child visa, additional documents will be required:

  • a copy of the parent's passport page with biometric data;
  • a copy of the parent's US visa;
  • a copy of the child's birth certificate;
  • documents confirming the financial solvency of the parent.

How to travel to the USA with no visa

The USA has a Visa Waiver Program. Citizens of participating countries travel to the United States without a visa if their purpose of travel qualifies for a B-1/B-2 visa.

Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment allows travelling to the USA without a visa. Before travelling, Maltese citizens receive an electronic travel authorisation, or ESTA. It is faster and cheaper than obtaining a visa: the permit is issued within 72 hours, and the application processing fee is $14.

ESTA allows you to enter the USA an unlimited number of times and stay in the country for 90 consecutive days. An entry permit is valid for two years, after which you need to get a new one.

Frequently asked questions

Where to apply for a US visa?

Visa applicants apply online, after which they are interviewed at a USA embassy or consulate.

Due to the coronavirus situation, most embassies operate in a limited mode and do not accept non-residents. If this is not officially announced, before applying, we recommend contacting the embassy staff and clarifying whether they will be able to accept non-residents soon.

Applicants who have dual citizenship or residency can obtain a US visa from the US embassy of the country where they have official status.

How to get a E-2 business visa?

Investor visas in the United States are immigrant — EB-5 and non-immigrant — E-2.

To obtain an immigrant visa, you need to register a company in the USA, invest $800,000 and employ ten people.

A non-immigrant visa can be obtained by citizens of certain countries that have an agreement with the United States. The E-2 list includes Grenada, a country with a citizenship by investment program. For investments of $150,000 or more, foreigners get a Grenada passport and, according to it, an investor visa.

How to get a US visa for tourist and business trips?

For tourist and business trips, a B-1/ B-2 visa is required.

To obtain a visa, you need to fill out an online visa application form, pay a consular fee and make an appointment for an interview at a US embassy or consulate. At the interview, you need to provide a package of documents and give fingerprints.

How to get a US visa for a student?

You must obtain a I-20 form from your educational institution or program administrator for a US student visa. Without it, the visa application will not be accepted.

To obtain a visa, you need to fill out an online visa application form, pay a consular fee and make an appointment for an interview at a US embassy or consulate. At the interview, you need to provide a package of documents and give fingerprints.

Where and how to get a US visa for Caribbean citizens and EU residents

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