Nonimmigrant Visas

[Updated October 19, 2021]

For information on the U.S. travel policy requiring COVID-19 vaccination:

U.S. Embassy Nassau is conducting visa interviews for all visa categories at this time.  However, due to social distancing requirements, staffing, and current demand, the wait time for a visa interview appointment can be considerable. 

  • If you have submitted a visa application, your application fee (also known as the MRV fee) remains valid in the country where the payment was made for one year from the date of payment or until September 30, 2022, whichever is later.
  • If you are a Bahamian citizen and qualified, please consider using the visa free travel option through the pre-clearance facility at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. You can find the requirements for visa-free preclearance travel at bs.usembassy.gov/preclearance/

The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Nassau is responsible for providing visa services to those seeking to enter the United States for a temporary period and for those wishing to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the United States.

Please visit our Global Support Services (GSS) website for complete information on applying for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, including a directory of nonimmigrant visa categories.

Visa Process Overview

To apply for a visa to travel to the United States:

  • Determine the type of visa required to travel to the United States. Information about visa types can be found here.
  • Complete the online visa application form, DS-160 or CEAC. The DS-160 is a U.S. Government on-line form found here. Each applicant must complete this form before scheduling an interview.
  • Schedule an interview on the centralized scheduling website. The website will use your answers to the questions to determine if you are eligible for an interview waiver (mail-in). Do NOT mail in your passport if you do not meet the interview waiver criteriaIf instructed to mail in your passport, go to this website for information about required documents and how to mail in your completed application package.
  • You may request an expedited appointment after scheduling an interview. More information can be found below.
  • Attend the interview with all required documentation.

Required Documents

In preparation for the interview, applicants must collect the appropriate documentation related to the purpose of travel.  Please visit our scheduling website to view the required documents.  You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the visa category for which you are applying.  There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued.  Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until a visa is issued. *Note: Additional documentation may be requested at any time during your visa application process (ex. Birth Certificate for children 17 years of age or younger).

Courier process for returning visas and passports to applicants

All applicants are required to provide a pre-paid or cash-on-delivery courier label (airway bill) during the interview in order for the approved visa to be returned to the applicant. Only one courier label (airway bill) is necessary per family or applicant group who wish for their visas/passports to be returned to the same address. The U.S. Embassy is NOT allowing in-person passport pickup.

Applicants can purchase a DHL courier label (airway bill) at the embassy on the day of the interview or bring a DHL, FedEx, or GWS courier label to the interview. If an applicant is not approved for a visa, they will NOT be allowed to receive a refund at the embassy. DHL will only provide refunds at a DHL location.

For general questions regarding courier labels or refunds please reach out directly to your local courier service provider.

Courier Options

Fees

Fees for State Department services occasionally change.  Check the schedule of fees for visa services for the most up-to-date information.

Additionally, nationals of some countries will be required to pay a supplementary fee for visa issuance.  Consult the State Department reciprocity table to determine whether your visa will require an additional fee.

Photo Requirements

To qualify to apply for a non-immigrant visa, each applicant must present a color photo taken within the last 6 months at the interview.  The application cannot be completed unless the presented photos meet State Department Requirements.

Expedited Appointment

All expedited appointment requests are processed through the regular appointment scheduling website.  To request an expedited visa appointment, please register through the normal process and follow the prompts to indicate your need for expedited service.  The decision to grant an expedited appointment is made on a case-by-case basis.  A legitimate need includes travel for urgent medical care, death or serious illness of a family member, or study in the United States.

Applicants are encouraged to read this in entirety before scheduling your visa interview at Embassy Nassau.

Third country nationals are applicants who do not hold Bahamian or Turks and Caicos Islander nationality.

Embassy Nassau ONLY accepts interview applications from TCNs for the following visa categories:

  • Renewals for petition-based F1, H1B, J1, L1, M1, O1, P1, P2, P3, and R1 only when initial adjudication was conducted in applicant’s home country
  • Renewals for petition-based F2, H4, L2, M2, O2, O3, P4, and R2 only when the main applicant is renewing with the family member and the initial adjudication was conducted in main applicant’s home country
  • B1/B2 – first time and renewals
  • E3 – renewals only

Embassy Nassau will NOT accept interview applications from third country nationals for the following visa categories and cases:

  • Initial (first time) petition-based applications
  • Treaty-Trader Visas (E1 & E2) [Note: Embassy Nassau does not process E1 & E2 applications for any nationality.]
  • Applicants who entered the U.S. with a visa issued in their home country and changed status with the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S., i.e., seek a new visa in the new visa category
  • Applicants who entered the U.S. in one visa category and are seeking to re-enter the U.S. in a different visa category
  • Applicants who have been out of status in the U.S. having violated the terms of their visas or having overstayed the validity indicated on their I-94s

Tips for Third Country Visa Applicants

It is a grave error for an applicant or an attorney to believe that applying for a visa in The Bahamas will be simpler or easier than applying in the applicant’s home country.  If you hold a passport from a country besides The Bahamas or Turks and Caicos Islands be sure to check the website of the U.S. Embassy in that country for visa information specific to your nationality.  A full list of U.S. Embassy websites can be found at https://www.usembassy.gov/. If you have no long-term status in The Bahamas or Turks and Caicos Islands (e.g. you are a visitor and not an immigrant, refugee, student or worker), the best place to apply for a visa is in your home country.  U.S. visa law is the same around the world and we give applicants without a long term, established connection to The Bahamas or Turks and Caicos Islands extra scrutiny.

A visa application or appointment does not equal visa eligibility.  Occasionally, applicants require additional, lengthy review, which may significantly delay travel to the United States by days, weeks or even months and would require the applicant to seek permission from the Government of The Bahamas to remain in the country while processing occurs.  Some applicants may simply be ineligible.  The applicant bears all responsibility for qualifying for a visa.  There is no prescreening, interim visa or expedited processing.  By seeking a visa in The Bahamas you confirm that you understand and accept full and sole responsibility for the outcome of your visa application.  Successful applicants for work related visas should expect that it will take at least 7 to 10 business days for a visa to be issued, depending on processing time required.  None of these times are guaranteed and all applicants should expect delays.  Ineligible applicants cannot travel to the United States, even if they came from the United States and hold a still-valid Arrival and Departure Record (I-94).

Should you be approved for a visa , U.S. Embassy Nassau is not responsible for courier distribution outside the Consular Jurisdictions of The Bahamas and The Turks & Caicos Islands.

Documents Required at Interview by Visa Class

H1: Temporary Worker of Distinguished Merit and Ability

  • Original or copy of the Notice of Approval, Form I-797
  • Application for Petition, Form I-129
  • Labor Condition Application (LCA)
  • Pay stubs/pay slips recording salary paid over the last 3-6 months
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration and salary.
  • If previously under J-1 in U.S., any applicable waiver of the 2 year foreign residence rule.
  • Educational Documents and/or letters from previous employers documenting work experience
  • Evidence of qualifications must be original or certified copy.
  • Note – If the applicant is changing employers, the case does not meet the criteria for Embassy Nassau.

H4: We only accept Spouse/Child of H1 applicants

  • In addition to the documents listed for the H1, you must also provide proof of dependent’s relationship to the primary applicant (must be original or certified copy – if English translation, must be a certified translation).

L1: Inter-Company Transferee (executive, manager)

  • Original or copy of notice of approval form I-797
  • Application for petition form I-129
  • Pay stubs/pay slips recording salary paid over the last 3-6 months.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration and salary.
  • (If previously under J-1 in US) any applicable waiver of 2 year residence rule.
  • Educational documents and/or letters from previous employers documenting work experience (ONLY FOR RESIDENT APPLICANTS APPLYING FOR AN L VISA FOR THE FIRST TIME).
  • Evidence of qualifications must be original or certified copy.

Blanket L Petition

  • Original or copy of notice of approval form I-797A or I-797B.
  • Letter from employer stating position.
  • Copy of I-129S (3 Copies) filed with DHS.
  • Pay stubs/Pay slips recording salary paid over the last 3-6months.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary.

L2: Spouse/Child of L1

  • Original or copy of notice of approval form I-797
  • Proof of dependents relationship to main applicant (must be original or certified copy-if English translation must be a certified translation).
  • Proof of dependents relationship to the primary applicant (must be original or certified copy-if English translation, must be a certified translation.      

O1: Alien of Extraordinary Ability

  • Original or copy of Notice of Approval, Form I-797A or I-797B.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary.
  • Copy of the I-129 petition completed by employer and filed with D.H.S.
  • Pay stubs/pay slips recording salary paid over the last 3-6 months
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary

O2: Alien Accompanying O-1 Alien

  • Original or copy of Notice of Approval, Form I-797A or I-797B.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary.
  • Copy of I-129 petition completed by employer and filed with D.H.S.
  • Pay stubs/pay slips recording salary paid over the last 3-6 months

O3: Spouse/Child of O-1 or O-2 Alien

  • Same documents listed above for O-1 as well as proof of dependent’s relationship to the primary applicant (must be original or certified copy – if English translation, must be a certified translation).

P1: Athlete – Specific Event

  • Original or copy of Notice of Approval, Form I-797A or I-797B.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary.
  • Copy of the I-129 petition completed by employer and filed with D.H.S.
  • Pay stubs/pay slips recording salary paid over the last 3-6 months

P2: Artist – Reciprocal Exchange

  • Original or copy of Notice of Approval, Form I-797A or I-797B.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary
  • Copy of the I-129 completed by employer and filed with D.H.S.
  • Evidence of qualifications must be original or certified copy.

P3: Culturally Unique Artist

  • Original or copy of Notice of Approval, Form I-797A or I-797B.
  • Current employment letter indicating the nature of work, duration, and salary.
  • Copy of I-129 petition completed by employer and filed with D.H.S.
  • Evidence of qualifications must be original or certified copy.

P4: Spouse/Child of P-1, P-2, or P-3

  • The primary applicant’s documents listed above as well as, proof of dependent’s relationship to the primary applicant (must be original or certified copy – if English translation, must be a certified translation).

R1: Alien in Religious Occupation

  • Proof of membership in the religious organization.
  • Proof of the organization’s tax-exempt status.
  • Letter from the organization describing the nature of the employment and length of intended stay in the U.S.
  • Contract between religious organization and applicant.
  • Proof of work experience in the applicant’s home country with the same religious organization they will represent in U.S.
  • Copy of the I-129 Petition completed by sponsor and filed with DHS.
  • Original or copy of Notice of Approval, Form I-797A or I-797B.

R2: Spouse/Child of R-1 Alien

  • The primary applicant’s documents listed above as well as proof of dependent’s relationship to main applicant, (must be original or certified copy – if English translation, must be a certified translation).

Security Procedures

All visitors must be screened prior to entering the U.S. Embassy and are subject to inspection via walk-through metal detector and a hand-held metal detector.  All personal items will undergo full inspection by use of x-ray and other detection equipment.

Any visitor refusing to submit to security screening shall be prohibited from entering.

Prohibited Items

The following items are prohibited inside the U.S. Embassy and we have no storage facilities for them, so please leave them at your home, your hotel, or in your vehicle:

  • Backpacks, bags, luggage, or large purses (purses 12 x 10 x 6 in. and smaller will be permitted)
  • Food and beverages
  • Weapons, including mace or pepper spray
  • Tools, including any sharp or bladed objects
  • Any oils, aerosols or pump sprays, liquids, lotions and powders
  • Any type of fire starter
  • Electronic or recording equipment of any kind, including, but not limited to:
    • Cameras
    • Laptop computers
    • Mobile phones
    • MP3, CD, or cassette players
    • Pagers
    • Keyless remotes
  • Helmets of any type
  • Entry of strollers will be determined on a case-by-case basis

This list is not all-inclusive.  The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to deny entry of any items deemed suspicious.

Consular-Related Visitors

Access to the Embassy is limited and generally only applicants are permitted to enter and be present during visa interviews.  On a case-by-case basis, applicants may be accompanied by ONE non-applicant during the visa application process.

Special Needs Visitors: Applicants may bring ONE person to assist them if they are over 80 years of age, are a minor child, or are disabled and require assistance to complete the application process.

Interpreter: Applicants may bring ONE interpreter if they do not speak English well enough to participate in an interview.  A final decision as to whether an interpreter is needed will be made by consular staff at time of the interview.

Note:

  • The U.S. Embassy has the right to refuse entry to any persons
  • Due to waiting room size, the large volume of applicants, and the time required to screen consular clients, persons not meeting the criteria above will not be permitted to accompany an applicant.  Drivers, friends, and extra relatives, including the relatives of interpreters, must wait outside or return to meet the applicant after the interview has been completed.

Location:  The Consular Section is located on the ground floor of the Embassy building at 42 Queen Street in Nassau, just off Marlborough Street.  It is opposite the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.

Mailing Address:
Consular Services
P.O. Box N-8197
Nassau, The Bahamas

To contact a customer service representative or to reach the Consular Section please use the following:

Email: 

  • For inquiries regarding pending nonimmigrant visa cases – VisaNassau@state.gov
  • For inquiries regarding pending immigrant visa cases – IVNassau@state.gov
  • Every effort is made to reply to all e-mails within two business days.

Telephone:

  • (From The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) 242-603-1290
  • (From The United States) 703-831-3448
  • Hours: Monday through Friday (except Bahamian holidays) 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.