The U.S. Embassy in Jamaica reports that Jamaicans have spent approximately US$25 million (J$3 billion) in 2015 to obtain entry visas. This year also saw a record number of applicants at 159,000 – the most in 20 years.
Speaking to the Jamaica Gleaner, U.S. Consul General in America Michael R. Schimmel atributed the rise in applications to changing economic conditions in both countries.
“Jamaica [now] has enough money to travel and the Americans have enough money to host,” says Schimmel. Or you can say that the economy in the sending country is a little bit shaky, with some people looking for a way to get out and go to the United States.”
The report, however, noted that 35 percent of visa applicants in 2015 were turned down, less than the 30 percent in 2014. That means Jamaicans who were not granted a visa spent more than J$1 billion in application fees.
“In 2015, we had a significant number of people coming in who had applied once or twice in the past, and they thought they could try again, believing that the standards might have changed,” said Schimmel.