Visa renewal waiver for Grenada approved by U.S.
September 30th 2018
Grenada stands out as one of the few Caribbean nations that had its Visa renewal waiver approved again by the U.S. This year, the United States excluded Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent from the visa waiver scheme.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has welcomed the decision taken by the United States government of President Donald Trump to allow for Grenadians to process their visa renewal procedures at home online without the additional cost of travelling to Barbados.
At a ceremony in St. George’s last month, Grenada’s Prime Minister said that the decision taken by Washington will ease the burden placed on the pockets of applicants. The renewed visa waiver became effective on September 10.
“I know for a fact, there are many of our citizens, historically in their attempt to get Visas for the United States have had to make tremendous sacrifices. Many of them are poor people who have little wealth and many times they have to spend quite a bit to go to Barbados…”, he said.
According to Dr. Mitchell, Grenadians also face problems with air transport to get to Barbados including the high cost of flying and also having to spend more money to overnight in Bridgetown in order to be on time for their appointments with the U.S Embassy.
“…The hassle and the problems in the cost is quite prohibitive and therefore this news has enormous implications for the people of Grenada”, he said.
The waiver makes it possible for Grenadians to apply online, and therefore they will not have to travel to Barbados anymore. After the online procedure, they can use a courier service to send their passports to the U.S Embassy in Barbados.
Linda Taglialatela, US Ambassador to Grenada, gave an insight into how the process will work:
“What the United States has done is approved for the people of Grenada a waiver for renewal of visas, which means people don’t have to come to Barbados to get their visa renewed, they can do it online by filling out the visa application, submitting the appropriate documents and then couriering the passport to Barbados”.
She also noted that this will only apply to persons whose visas had expired for no more than 12 months. Any expiration past one year will require applicants to travel to Barbados.
Washington’s new directive will not apply to those foreigners who came into possession of a Grenada passport under the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) program. Applicants who receive CBI passports will be required to schedule an interview with the embassy in Barbados for visa renewals.
The U.S. Ambassador said that this new development will further deepen and strengthen the relationship existing between Grenada and the United States.
“Hopefully, this will again, encourage our relationship, which I believe, and my government believes, has been a very productive and very warm and welcoming relationship with Grenada for many years. Under our Caribbean Strategy 2020, one of the things is (that) we want to improve and enhance that relationship and we want to continue to inspire people to travel between our two countries and learn about the cultures and the people”, she said.