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Group applicants need separate approvals

Question:

I'm the coach of a professional football team which is set to compete in an exhibition in the US next month. My team has 20 members, some of which are under the age of 18.

We all need new visas, what should we do?

Answer:

This is an excellent question. Over the course of the year, a number of different groups associated with different athletics and activities approach the Embassy to make appointments for travel to the United States for various competitions, conferences, work seminars, etc. We do our best to accommodate groups so they can have a quick and pleasant application experience, along with all of our other applicants.

With some exceptions, a group is composed of at least five members. So if you are a group or a team that has a uniform purpose of travel to the United States that is sanctioned by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago or an internationally recognised body and you have at least five persons in your group, you may send an e-mail to ConsularPOS @state.gov or call the Embassy (622-6371) any weekday between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., in order to submit a request for a group interview. This does not mean you are guaranteed a group interview. In some cases, your group may not qualify for such an interview, and it will be recommended that each member make an individual appointment online.

Please note that group appointments do not apply to families. That is, just because you have a large family does not mean you qualify for a group interview.

If you are approved for a group interview, then the whole team/group must appear on the specified appointment date at the pre-arranged time. Each member must meet the requirements for a US non-immigrant visa application. That is, each must have a valid passport, pay the fee at TTPost and prepare the requisite forms. Please be advised that applicants under the age of 18 must have a parent or legal guardian present. Each member will have their own private interview, and the officer will determine under US Immigration Law whether or not the applicant is qualified for a visa. To be clear, membership in a group or team does not guarantee an applicant will receive a visa. Each applicant must be able to demonstrate their own ties to Trinidad and Tobago in order to qualify for a visa.

It is highly recommended you e-mail or call as far in advance as possible to make your group appointment. This is necessary, so that if there is a change in the group's itinerary or members have complications receiving a visa or simply do not qualify for a visa, then timely steps can be taken by the group's leadership to adjust travel plans accordingly.

• Send your questions and comments to: askUSconsultrinidad@state.gov

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