JO - US Embassy warns against visa appointment fraud
US Embassy warns against visa appointment fraud
Thursday, June 14, 2007
THE United States Embassy in Kingston yesterday said it was investigating an attempted manipulation of its online non-immigrant visa appointment system and urged applicants to avoid persons offering to secure early visa appointments.
According to the embassy, a growing number of appointments made online contain false information and are made simply to secure a place in its interview schedule.
"These fictitious appointments cause problems for everyone, especially by adding to the waiting time for legitimate travellers from Jamaica to secure a timely appointment," the embassy said in a release yesterday.
"All applicants for US visitor visas are required to give their full name, passport number and "Paymaster" receipt number to reserve a visa appointment," it said, adding that persons found tampering with the database or who file "fraudulent appointments" will be reported to the local police for criminal prosecution.
The embassy further warned that persons who enter interviews with fake appointment letters will be denied visas and may be subject to permanent visa ineligibility.
Yesterday, the embassy also urged visa applicants to "avoid people or businesses that claim to be able to schedule expedited appointments".
"There is no charge for scheduling visa interview appointments (including emergency appointments) on the Embassy's electronic calendar. If you believe that a travel agent or individual is providing questionable services, please inform the Embassy... so that we can act to prevent other applicants from being charged high fees for fraudulent services," the release stated.
Persons who change their appointments were also urged to delete their previous dates in order to make the slots available to other applicants.
"We do monitor duplicate appointments, and any individual who reserves more than one date at the same time invites having one or both of the appointments deleted," the embassy said.