Scheduling a US Consulate Interview

For countries not participating in the Visa Waiver Program, most US Consulates now require all nonimmigrant visa applicants to appear in person for interviews prior to visa approval and issuance. The appointments are also used to collect biometric data, fingerprints and photographs, which will appear encoded on the machine-readable visa which is issued.

Allow plenty of time for processing your visa application

Some US Embassies or Consulates may have a long wait for an interview. As soon as you know you need to travel to the United States, contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate to schedule an appointment. Be sure to ask how you can get application forms, what fees are required and how they can be paid, and how and when to schedule an interview. ACS recommends that you begin the visa application process at least three to four months in advance of planned travel. You can now get an estimate on visa waiting times at your local US consulate or embassy.

Advance travel planning and early visa application are important, since visa applications are subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. If you plan to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to come to the United States, we know you’d like to estimate how long you will have to wait to get an interview appointment to apply for a visa. Find current estimated wait times for various categories of visas at United States embassies and consulates worldwide.

You’ll also want to know how long it will take for your nonimmigrant visa to be processed at the Consular Section, after a decision is made by a Consular Officer to issue the visa and the visa is available for pick-up by you or the courier at the embassy. It is important to review thoroughly all information on the specific embassy’s consular section website for local procedures and instructions, such as how to make an interview appointment. Consular websites will also explain any additional procedures for students, exchange visitors and those persons who need an earlier visa interview appointment.

Third Country Nationals – allow additional time

If you are not a citizen of the country where you currently reside, you will need to allow for more time to apply for a visa to enter the US. Please contact your local US Embassy or Consulate to ask about visa application procedures for third country nationals.

Allow additional time if you are working on sensitive technology projects

Certain areas of science involving sensitive technologies are subject to greater attention and a lengthy review process. If you have such a background through graduate-level studies, teaching, conducting research, participating in exchange programs, receiving training or employment, or engaging in commercial transactions, your application will undergo a security review. Applicants should take this into consideration and apply as early as possible.

Previous visa denials

If you have previously been denied a visa to the US you may need to allow more time for your application.