Our client’s children are studying at a university in the United States. Before the pandemic, Alessandra and her husband regularly visited their children; for trips to America, the couple received type B tourist visas.
Since March 2020, US consulates in Brazil have stopped issuing tourist visas.
Citizens of Caribbean countries can get US tourist visas even during a pandemic, under a simplified procedure and with validity time of 10 years.
Learn how the Antigua and Barbuda passport helped Alessandra get a US visa: where Caribbean passport holders apply, why prove the connection with the country of second citizenship and how long it takes to get it.
Why Alessandra decided to get a second passport
Alessandra has two children: Dolores and Eliana. In 2018, Dolores entered Marshall University in the USA, where she studied computer and information technology. A year later, Eliana entered the same university in the Faculty of Marketing.
Before the pandemic, Alessandra and her husband Paulo went to visit their children in the United States three times a year. They spent holidays together and traveled to different states.
To travel to the United States, the couple received a type B visitor visa. Its holder can stay in the United States for no more than 180 days a year. When the visa expires, the applicant collects the documents again and submits them to the closest US Consulate. It is also mandatory to pass an interview. Waiting for a visa decision can take several months.
In March 2020, the US consulates in Brazil suspended their work. They did not accept applications for the issuance of new visas, the extension of existing visas or canceled scheduled interviews.
Alessandra's visa expired in August 2020. She began looking for a way to get a visa and travel to the United States even during a pandemic.
From an article by Immigrant Invest, Alessandra learned that the holders of a passport of the Caribbean country and Vanuatu receive a visa to the United States under a simplified procedure.
Choosing a citizenship by investment program
On October 19th, 2020, Alessandra applied to Immigrant Invest to choose a citizenship by investment program.
Five Caribbean countries and Vanuatu, a state in Oceania, issue citizenship by investment. Holders of passports of these countries receive visas to the United States of type B for a period of 10 years. Applicants are also interviewed. But then the registration procedure does not take several months, but two or three weeks. The successful applicants are also allowed to stay in the United States up to 180 days a year.
Alessandra planned to obtain a second citizenship with her husband. The Antigua and Barbuda program required the lowest costs, so Alessandra chose it and entered into an agreement with Immigrant Invest.
The couples’ expenses for a second citizenship by contribution to a state fund
Antigua and Barbuda citizenship in six months
Participation in the Antigua and Barbuda Citizenship by Investment Program is a five-step process:
Document preparation to apply for citizenship. During the pandemic, the Antigua and Barbuda CBI unit simplified the application process. Copies of documents may be uploaded to a secure online portal. The originals must be sent by mail immediately after the application is submitted. In this case, the department begins to consider the application as soon as the scanned documents are received.
Immigrant Invest lawyers have filled out an application form for Alessandra. Certified copies were attached to it:
- Police clearance certificates.
- Constituent documents of Alessandra's business to confirm the legality of income and money for investment.
- A letter of recommendation from the bank.
- Alessandra's bank statement for the last two years.
- Marriage certificates.
- Medical insurance.
Alessandra paid the Due Diligence fee in advance to the program department — $15,000 for herself and her spouse. The lawyers also attached a receipt for payment to the application.
Due Diligence in the CBI unit of Antigua and Barbuda typically takes three to nine months. Alessandra received department approval three and a half months after submitting the application and without additional requests.
Fulfillment of the investment condition. Along with the approval, the Antigua and Barbuda CBI unit sent details for the payment of the contribution to the country's National Development Fund. The fee is $100,000 regardless of the number of participants on the application. Separately, Alessandra paid a mandatory state fee of $30,000.
Three weeks later, the program department confirmed that the payments were credited and began to produce naturalization certificates and second passports for Alessandra and her husband.
Oath. New citizens of Antigua and Barbuda take an oath before obtaining their passports. Previously, it was only possible to take the oath in person in Antigua and Barbuda. From February 2021, the oath is also held in the official representations of Antigua and Barbuda in other countries.
Immigrant Invest lawyers helped to book an appointment at the Antigua and Barbuda Embassy in Havana: the couple had a valid Tourist Cards to entry Cuba so they could take the oath on the island.
The couple received their naturalization certificates and second passports by mail three weeks after the oath. Participation in the citizenship program took six months from the moment of contacting Immigrant Invest.
Rental housing in the Caribbean to obtain a US visa
US Embassies and Consulates treat every type B visa applicant as possible immigrants. The condition is spelled out in section 214 (b) of the US Immigration and Citizenship Act. Therefore, when applying for a visa, it is necessary to confirm that the trip will be short-term and the applicant has a permanent residence outside the United States. Any connections with other countries, such as employment, are also taken into account. It is recommended that you apply for a US visa in your country of residence. In this case, the applicant proves his connection with the country in which territory he or she is applying for. For example, the address of residence in the country of application.
Head of Legal Department in Immigrant Invest
As citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Alessandra and her husband could apply for a visa at the US mission in the Caribbean. To prove the connection with the Caribbean country of the second citizenship, the lawyers suggested that the couple register in Antigua and Barbuda. It is not necessary to buy real estate for this, it is enough to rent a house for a long period, e.g. a year.
Real estate specialists Immigrant Invest have selected a one-bedroom apartment for the couple in the capital of Antigua and Barbuda. The cost of renting an apartment was $800 per month. The lawyers checked the landlord and the purity of the transaction, and Alessandra entered into a one-year lease agreement.
Visa to the USA for 10 years with the passport of Antigua and Barbuda
Tourist visa to the United States is of two types:
- В-1 for business trips, participation in sports competitions, accompaniment of a foreign employer;
- В-2 for tourist and recreational trips, visiting relatives and friends, medical treatment.
Alessandra qualified for the B-2 visa better, although most often the consulates issued a combined B-1/B-2 visa. In any case, the applicant confirms the purpose and timing of the trip, and the procedure for obtaining it is the same for both types of visa.
How to get a type B visa in the USA
Completing the online form DS-160. The lawyers helped Alessandra and Paulo fill out the B visa application forms. The form can only be completed online, applications in printed or handwritten format will not be accepted.
In the form, the lawyers indicated the embassy in which the couple plan to be interviewed: in the city of Bridgetown, Barbados.
Alessandra and Paulo did not need a visa to travel to the Caribbean. Citizens of any Caribbean country have the right to move freely between the states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The lawyers also added to the statement:
- Second passport details.
- Bank statement as confirmation that the applicant has money for the duration of his stay in the United States.
- Information about the place of work and wages.
- Copies of birth certificates of children to confirm the purpose of travel and relationship.
- Antigua and Barbuda rental agreement and recurring utility bills receipts.
- Information on previous US visas and travel arrangements.
- Dates of the proposed future trip to the United States.
After submitting the applications, the couple received confirmation with an alphanumeric barcode. They printed out the codes to present at the embassy for an interview.
The consular fee is $160 per person. The fee is indicated in US dollars, but is charged in the currency of the country of application. In the Caribbean, it is the East Caribbean dollar. The fee is non-refundable and must be paid before applying for a visa.
To pay the fee, you need to create an account at ais.usvisa-info.com. An appointment is also recorded through the account.
The lawyers set up separate accounts for Alessandra and her husband. In the accounts, they indicated their personal data and the confirmation codes received after filling out the DS-160 form.
Alessandra paid the fee online using account details at Scotiabank in Barbados.
The interview appointment opened for the couple two days after payment of the fee. Due to the pandemic, a queue of applications formed at the Barbados consulate, so the next free date was August 3rd, 2021.
Interview at the US Consulate in Barbados. Alessandra and Paulo were interviewed at the US Embassy and were fingerprinted. The couple was approved. They received their visas three weeks after the interview, on August 24th, 2021.
Second passports for free travel around the world
Alessandra and Paulo were waiting for a decision on a visa to the United States while vacationing in Antigua and Barbuda. They sunbathed on sandy beaches, visited the Frigate Bird Sanctuary and tasted the Antigua Black pineapple variety, which grows only on the islands and is not suitable for export.
The couple fulfilled the condition of the program to stay in Antigua and Barbuda for at least five days during the first five years after obtaining citizenship.
In September 2021, Alessandra and her husband will fly to the USA. They will visit the children in West Virginia first. Then the couple plan to travel to Cleveland to hike along the shores of Lake Erie. During the trip, Alessandra dreams of seeing Niagara Falls.
You can learn about all the opportunities that an Antigua passport offers in the article "Citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda: a detailed guide for an investor."