According to the US Embassy in Colombia website, effective immediately, interviews will now be required in all cases, except:
- Diplomatic and official visa applicants from foreign governments and international organizations (categories: A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1 through -6, C-2 and C-3).
- Applicants under the age of 14, or over the age of 79.
- Applicants who previously held a visa in the same category that expired less than 12 months prior to the new application.
Previously, Colombians who wished to renew their visa in the same category within 48 months could have the interview waived.
“The Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel while ensuring the security of U.S. borders and the American people,” reads the US Embassy update.
The new visa regulations are a consequence of an executive order on immigration signed on January 27 by President Donald Trump.
This controversial executive order bans all travel from a number of Muslim countries, and a revision of all visa procedures for foreigners wanting to travel to the United States for either business or pleasure.
In the executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists Entry Into The United States,” the hard-right US president announced numerous measures to tighten control on the issuing of visas.
The United States must be vigilant during the visa-issuance process to ensure that those approved for admission do not intend to harm Americans and that they have no ties to terrorism.
US President Donald Trump
Trump’s xenophobic remarks targeting Mexicans during his campaign has made him in Colombia almost as unpopular as Nicolas Maduro, the authoritarian leader of Colombia’s neighbor Venezuela.
According to the US Embassy, last year 500,000 visas for Colombians were approved.
Article originally appeared on Colombiareports.com