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United States Visa Services

How to Apply

The United States Embassy is pleased to announce the adoption of a new system for processing non-immigrant visa applications.  The new system will help potential applicants get the information they need to prepare their application materials and will eliminate the need for applicants to stand in long lines while waiting for their visa interview.
Beginning February 22, 2006, all potential non-immigrant visa applicants must first contact the Embassy's Visa Information Service before coming to the Embassy in Nassau.  The service, based on similar models operating today in more than 25 countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia, provides timely and accurate information to the public regarding how to apply for a visa to visit the United States.
Callers to the Visa Information Service will be able to speak to operators who can provide information on the visa application process and its requirements.  Callers will also be able to schedule an appointment for their visa interview, working with the operator to find the most convenient time for an appointment. 

Callers to the Visa Information Service will need to obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) before placing their calls.  Applicants can purchase a PIN at a local distribution center, where they will also receive instructions on how to place a call to the Visa Information Service.  A list of PIN distribution centers is available at www.usvisascratchcards.info.

Persons wishing to apply for a visa for travel to the United States may present their application and accompanying documents during our Non-immigrant visa office hours to the U.S. Embassy-Nassau.  Please note that to enhance border security measures, State Department regulations now require a personal appearance for all persons aged 14yrs to 79yrs.  Those under 14 or over 79 may have their applications sent by courier or another person may bring them, provided the required documentation (as stated below) accompanies the application. 

Upon arriving in the Visa Section, you are asked to give your documents to a Visa Section employee who organizes the papers, attaches your photo and police certificate, etc.  You then proceed to the Cashier’s window to pay your fee.  After your data is entered into the computer system, you will be called to a window for an interview and fingerprinting.  This process typically takes about 30-60 minutes, subject to how the number of applicants on any given day.  

If your visa application is approved, your visa is typically ready for you to pick between 3:00-4:00 PM on the same day.  However, occasionally there is a delay in the processing or printing of the visas.  

NIV Office Hours

7:00 AM to 11:00 AM Monday to Thursday (except holidays).


Whether the application is presented in person or by courier, you must present:

  • A valid passport, with at least six months validity remaining, and any previous passports you have held which are still in your possession.  A report is required for any lost/stolen passports. 
  • A fully completed and signed application form DS-156 (and DS-157 to be completed by all male applicants from age 16 through 45.)  Forms are available at the Embassy, may be completed online, and then printed out, at www.travel.state.gov (click on Visas and follow the links).  If you prefer to print out a blank form to be completed using a pen, go to the bottom of the page of http://evisaforms.state.gov for that link.  The DS-157 form can also be found at:  www.travel.state.gov.
  • A passport-size photograph taken within the past six months; plain white background, no eyewear or head coverings.  Hair should be pushed away from the face. (Glasses may be worn if there is no glare and eyes are clearly visible.)  See photo specifications at www.travel.state.gov.         
  • $100.00 in exact change (all Bahamian or all U.S. -- no mixed currencies).  Payment is by cash, postal money order or certified check only.
  • A police certificate issued within the past 6 months, for those age 14 years or older and have lived in the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos Islands at least 6 months.
  • Each applicant must also present evidence of his or her ties to the Bahamas or another country outside the United States to which he or she will return after the visit.  Because each individual’s circumstances are unique, it is impossible to specify what documents will satisfy this requirement.  The deciding factor is not the number or kind of documents presented, but the circumstances of the applicant.  Most applicants who are employed present a letter from their employer, or a business license for self- employed persons.
  • Work/resident permit for those who are residents, but not citizens, of the Bahamas or Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Retired persons receiving pension payments should submit a letter, from the institution that pays the pension benefits, stating the benefit amount.
  • When applying for visas for minor children, the above documents are required, including parents’ employment letters. 
  • For those under age 14, please include parents’ passports and the child’s birth certificate.
  • For applications for special visas (student visas, work visas, crew visas, etc), please see “Types of Visas” on this website for additional information.  Please refer to www.travel.state.gov for information on visa types not discussed on our website.

A consular officer may request other documentation from the applicant at the time of interview.

Should you have further questions, please contact the visa section by e-mailing to:  visanassau@state.gov.  Emailing  is the most efficient way to get your information.  Most emails are answered in 24-48 hours.  

*This page was updated August 11th, 2006
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