The tough migratory policy introduced by the new president of the United States is not just having an effect on Mexicans and citizens from certain Muslim nations. Now it is Argentina’s turn. Donald Trump has signed an executive order making it harder for nationals of the South American country to enter the US.
Beginning this week, Argentineans aged 14-15 and 66-79 wishing to apply for a visa are no longer exempt from a visa interview. Until now, all first-time applicants under 16 and over 66 had been able to conduct all the paperwork through the mail.
The announcement was made by the US Embassy in Argentina through a website release. The statement says that the executive order, signed on January 27, aims “to enhance the security of the US visa process worldwide.”
Visa interviews will now be required for everyone except applicants under the age of 14, or over the age of 79; exceptions are also made for diplomats and government officials.
The new restrictions may impact the wait time for scheduling an appointment at the Consulate
In March 2016, former president Barack Obama was in Argentina on an official visit, and agreed with President Mauricio Macri to eliminate some of the hurdles facing visa applicants in that country. There was even talk of eliminating visa requirements altogether, but this seems like an increasingly remote possibility under the current US administration.
And there are further restrictions besides age. Until now, the interview had been waived for applicants who previously held a visa in the same category that expired less than four years before the new application. That time frame has now been reduced to 12 months following Trump’s executive order.
The embassy warns that the new restrictions “may impact the wait time for scheduling an appointment at the Consulate. Individuals planning travel to the United States are advised to begin the visa application process as far in advance as possible.”
According to November 2015 figures, Argentina ranked second behind China in number of visas issued for travel to the US. The ambassador at the time, Noah Mamet, had a double shift in place to reduce waiting times. An average of 32,000 visas were processed a month, and visitor numbers swelled from 267,000 in 2007 to 685,000 in 2014.
English version by Susana Urra.