Group Appointments

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Overview

Groups of 5 or more individuals, traveling together for the same purpose, may request a special group appointment. Examples of groups might include a troupe of performers going to tour and perform in the United States, athletic teams, pilots or skilled workers traveling to participate in training, or student groups. When submitting a group appointment request, please be sure to include detailed information about the nature of your travel plans and whether there is a particular day that you would like to schedule your group interview. If there are any particular dates that you prefer for the interview, please make sure to add these in the Reason for Travel field. The Embassy/Consulate might take into consideration those preferred dates when assigning a date and time for your group. If your group has fewer than 5 people, you cannot book a group appointment.

Qualifications

The US Embassy/Consulate in Fiji has set up a special program, the Group Travel Program, to facilitate appointments for qualified groups travelling together.  The purpose of this program is to increase the efficiency of visa interviews and make the arrangement of a visa appointment more convenient for applicants.

Qualifying groups must meet the following requirements

 

      • It should be associated with a sponsoring organization such as a sports team, church, musical group or company.
      • Groups must be traveling for the same purpose, to a specific event (for example:  to attend a conference, to participate in a sports competition)
      •  All participants must have the same travel itinerary - meaning they are traveling together, to the same place at the same time, and returning together. 
      •  Applicants should be event participants or coaches.  With the exception of groups composed of minors, where we will accept limited applications for chaperones.

Examples of groups that qualify include:

      • A national selection sports team (baseball, soccer, etc.) – adult or youth
      • Members of a professional association (doctors, lawyers, etc.) traveling to a conference
      • A church group traveling to participate in a service project

Examples of groups that DO NOT qualify include:

      • A family group traveling on vacation
      •  A travel agency group that plans to take a tour in the United States

 

How Can You Schedule a Group Appointment?

Members of a qualified group should request a group appointment using the online appointment system (please see steps below).  In order to determine whether it can be approved, please attach the following documents when you submit your request for a group appointment using the online appointment system. If you do not submit the following documents together with your online group appointment request, your request for a group appointment may be rejected:

      • An invitation letter from the event in the United States
      • A letter from the local association verifying the group’s membership in the organization
      • A list of the event dates, group travel dates (all group members must have the same itinerary), group members’ names and roles in the group, and the name and contact information of the group coordinator.
      • If receiving financial sponsorship, a letter and financial documents from the group sponsor

All applications are to be submitted at least 10 days in advance of your travel date.  Applications submitted on shorter notice will be considered, but there is no guarantee that the US Embassy/Consulate can accommodate requests for appointments on short notice.

Group Members Must Still Qualify for the Visa

Even though applicants are applying through the Group Travel Program, all applicants must still qualify for visas individually. There is a chance that your visa may be denied.  The Group Travel Program is a means to expedite your visa appointment.  It is not a guarantee of a visa.  Each applicant must ensure that he or she appears at the interview with all the required evidence to demonstrate his or her qualifications for a visa.

What Should You Bring to the Interview?

Each group member must:

      • Pay the relevant fee at Post Fiji or online via credit card (click here for payment information), and bring the Appointment Confirmation letter for the appointment scheduled.
      • Bring your DS-160 confirmation form that has been completed and submitted to the appointment.
      • Have your current passport, any old passports, and old U.S. visas on hand during the interview.
      • Bring whatever documents are necessary to demonstrate your ability to cover the trip expenses. If a sponsor will be paying for the trip, please bring whatever documents demonstrate the sponsor is capable of covering the costs.
      • Bring work or school letters as evidence of employment or student status.
      • The most likely reason for being denied a visa is that the applicant fails to overcome the statutory presumption of immigrant intent that is found in Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  Under this section of the law, a visa applicant must show at the time of the visa application that he/she is entitled to nonimmigrant status.  For most applicants, that means demonstrating compelling ties that will bring you back to your country. 

Who Should Attend the Interview?

Each group member applying for a visa must attend the interview. Generally speaking, if the applicant is under the age of 17, one parent/legal guardian must attend the interview.The group coordinator is responsible for ensuring that group members arrive on time to their appointment at the US Embassy/Consulate and that they come with the required documentation.

The group coordinator is responsible for ensuring that group members arrive on time to their appointment at the US Embassy/Consulate and that they come with the required documentation.

How to Apply

Step 1
Request a group appointment using the online appointment system. Once you have submitted your request, please wait for a response from the Embassy, which will come via email.

Note: We strongly recommend that you read the Tutorial for Scheduling Group Appointments located after step 6 below for more detailed instructions.

Step 2
If the Embassy approves your request then you will receive an email alerting you to schedule appointments for each member of your group. Please understand that the call center cannot schedule appointments for you, but agents are able to assist if questions arise. Should the Embassy deny the request for a group appointment, you will be notified of the denial by email and each group member must schedule individual appointments.

Note: The email confirming or denying your request will come from no-reply@ustraveldocs.com. Some email applications have rules which filter unknown senders into a spam or junk mail folder. If you have not received your email notification, please look for the message in your junk and spam email folders.

Step 3
Each group member must pay the visa application fee.

Step 4
Each group member must complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 5
Each group member must schedule an appointment using the online appointment system. Each group member will need three pieces of information in order to schedule an appointment:

        • His or her passport number
        • The Receipt Number appearing on your Post Fiji receipt, or the receipt that appears on your screen when you made an online payment (contact the call center if you need help finding any of these numbers).
        • The ten (10) digit barcode number from his or her DS-160 confirmation page

Step 6
Each group member must visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of their visa interview. He or she will need to bring a printed copy of their appointment letter, DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, and a current passport and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Note: If you have additional questions on group scheduling, please visit  Tutorial for Scheduling Group Appointments for more detailed instructions.

Note: The group leader can perform steps 1-3, 4, and 5 for group members.