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United States Embassy resumes consular services, extends visa waiver program

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Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2021. 11:21 am CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: The United States Embassy in Belmopan is resuming consular services that were suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melissa Sandoval, a U.S. Embassy Consular Officer, explained to the media this week that the pandemic caused a backlog of work at the Embassy, which prompted a decision to extend its visa waiver program from 12 months to 48 months.

“So essentially if your visa has expired within the last four years and you’re applying within the same visa category, for example, if you’re applying for a tourist visa and you previously had a tourist visa, or you’re applying for a transit visa and you’re reapplying for that then you qualify, as long as you’re applying within the same visa category,” Sandoval said.

She noted that the measure is also in place to ensure the safety of applicants and Embassy staff as applicants under the waiver program can simply drop off their documents once they meet the requirements, which will lessen the number of persons going into the embassy.

Sandoval said that there are no scheduled changes to visa fees at this time and noted that all travelers bound for the U.S. are required by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to have a negative COVID-19 test result.

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