The United States Embassy in Costa Rica is looking to simplify the visa process for foreigners traveling to the U.S. this Christmas season.
Whether it’s to load up on presents during the holiday sales, to visit family or simply to play in the snow, the process might be a little easier this year with added interviews in the afternoons and a reduction in wait time – to just eight days – for a visa interview.
According to an embassy statement, the afternoon appointments are an “unprecedented step” that will allow “as many qualified travelers as possible to enjoy the holidays in the manner they prefer.” Consular personnel expect to receive 540 visa applications per day in the coming weeks. To handle the expected surge in requests, embassy officials ask Costa Ricans who have no travel plans during the holidays to postpone making appointments.
“Costa Ricans and other third-country nationals … can request an appointment now, but can help their countrymen who are making last-minute plans by requesting that their appointment be scheduled in January, when the number of applicants generally drops,” according to an embassy statement.
The embassy said 5,533 Costa Rican citizens applied for U.S. visitor visas in November and 4,345 (78 percent) received visas.
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Scheduling a visa appointment: People who need a visa interview before Christmas should call 0-800-0521465 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. They are cautioned not to pre-pay any travel expenses (airlines, hotels, etc.) until after they have been told at the interview whether they are eligible for a visa. With the high volume of cases currently being handled, the embassy will not be able to accommodate any direct requests for preferential treatment.
Preparing for your interview: The embassy asks visa applicants to be prepared for their interview. It is important for an applicant to arrive on time the day of the interview and present all required documents needed to apply for a U.S. visa. To learn about the documentation needed for the interview, visit the U.S. Embassy Web site: sanjose.usenbassy.gov/consnonimmigrant.html