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US Visa Appointment: Everything You Need to Know

Updated: September 8, 2023

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One of the essential steps in a US visa application process is the US visa appointment. A visa appointment is mandatory for all foreign nationals applying for a US visa. Visa applicants must appear in person on the day of their appointment for biometrics and visa interviews.

In this article, you will learn everything about US visa appointment, who needs to attend and how to schedule one.

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Understanding US Visa Appointment

A US visa appointment is the second and last step in the US visa application process. There are many unofficial terms for visa appointments. Applicants use these alternatives widely in forums and social media. Here are some of them.

  • CGI visa slot
  • US visa slot
  • CGI federal visa appointment
  • AIS visa appointment
  • DS 160 appointment

A visa appointment is mandatory for a US visa for two reasons:

  • For better applicant screening: An in-person interview helps consular officers to meet and interact with the applicants personally. Officers can read their body language and identify any questionable intentions such as fraud, forgery, etc.
  • To secure US borders: Capturing biometrics helps US border officials in knowing who is entering the country.

The visa appointment may or may not include an in-person interview with a consular officer. Those who require an interview must appear in person at a US consulate.

Nonimmigrant Visa Appointment vs Immigrant Visa Appointment

A visa appointment is mandatory for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. But the prerequisites are different for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. For nonimmigrant visas, you must complete the DS-160 form prior to scheduling your appointment. For immigrant visas, you must complete the DS-260 form prior to scheduling the appointment and a medical exam prior to the interview.

In this article, we will only discuss visa appointments for nonimmigrant visas such as the B1/B2.

Who are Required to Attend US Visa Appointment?

If you are applying for a US visa, you are required to attend an appointment at the US consulate. The visa appointment typically consists of a biometrics capture and a visa interview with a consular officer.

If you meet certain criteria, you may not need to attend the in-person interview. Let’s look at who is required and not required to attend the US visa interview.

Interview required

If you require a visa to travel to the US, then you would require a visa interview for your visa. As part of your visa application, you must schedule an interview at the US consulate.

Interview waiver

You may be eligible for an interview waiver if you meet the following criteria.

  • You are under 14 years or over 79 years of age
  • You are renewing your US visa

If you are eligible for an interview waiver can use the dropbox facility at the Visa Application Centers (VAC).

NOTE Even if you are eligible for an interview waiver, you must still schedule an appointment. Scheduling an appointment at the consulate is mandatory for all US visas.

How to Schedule a US Visa Interview Appointment?

Schedule US Visa Appointment in Asia

Prerequisite: Complete DS-160 Form

Before you schedule US visa appointment , you must first complete and submit the DS-160 form. You would need a DS-160 confirmation number to schedule your visa appointment.

Step 1: Create an Account

The first step is to create an account on the visa appointment system. There are two different systems for scheduling appointments.

  • US Travel Docs by CGI Federal: For applicants residing in Asia, Central America, parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East
  • AIS by GDIT (also referred to as Yatri): For applicants residing in North and South America, parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East

Depending on your country of residence, create an account on one of the above appointment systems. Then fill out your details, passport information, visa category, visa class and dependents.

Step 2: Pay the MRV Fee

The next step is to pay the MRV (Machine Readable Visa) fee. The MRV fee is $185 for a nonimmigrant visa such as the B1/B2.

After the visa fee payment, you will receive an MRV fee receipt number. Once you enter this fee receipt number, you will be taken to the appointment page where you can pick the date and time for your visa interview.

Step 3: Schedule a Biometric or OFC Appointment

US visa interviews in some countries require a separate biometric appointment. This can be at the same US consulate where you will attend your interview or it can be at a facility away from the US consulate called an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC). Sometimes an OFC is also referred to as a Visa Application Center (VAC).

The biometric appointment at the OFC or VAC must be at least one working day prior to the interview.

Step 4: Schedule Visa Interview Appointment

After you have selected the date and time for your biometric appointment, you will see a calendar of dates available for interviews. Pick a date and time that works for you and complete the process. Print the appointment confirmation as you would need this to attend the interview.

How to Cancel a US Visa Appointment?

You can cancel your visa appointment from your account dashboard in US Travel Docs. You can click on the “Cancel Appointment” button on the left menu bar in your account dashboard. From there, follow the instructions to cancel your appointment.

Keep in mind that you cannot cancel more than two times per MRV fee. If you cancel more than the allowed number of times, you will have to pay the MRV fee again.

How to Reschedule a US Visa Appointment?

You can reschedule your visa appointment from your account dashboard in US Travel Docs. You can click on the “Reschedule Appointment” button on the left menu bar in your account dashboard. An appointment calendar appears on the screen. Pick a new date and time and click on the “Schedule Appointment” button.

Keep in mind that you can only reschedule up to 2 times. Also, you can only reschedule up to 48 hours before your interview.

What Documents Do You Need to Carry for the Appointment?

On the day of your appointment, you must carry the following mandatory documents. Without the mandatory documents, you will not be allowed into the consulate premises.

  • Original passport (and any old passports that demonstrate your travel history)
  • A print of your appointment confirmation
  • A print of your DS-160 confirmation
  • Visa fee receipt (if you have paid the visa fee at the local bank)
  • Two 2×2 inch photographs (if you haven’t uploaded your picture while filling out DS-160)
  • One additional ID (to gain access to the building premises)

Apart from the above mandatory documents, you can also carry supporting documents such as the ones below.

  • Your employment, business or student proofs
  • Your financial proofs
  • Purpose of your trip (conference tickets, travel itinerary or other documents to support your trip)

How to Attend a US Visa Appointment?

Schedule US Visa Appointment in Asia - Appointment Confirmation

The procedure to attend the visa appointment varies from country to country. But following is the general overview of the visa interview procedure.

Step 1: Arrive at the US Embassy or Consulate

You must arrive at the consulate on time. If you arrive early, you will be asked to come back at your appointment time. Standing and waiting near the building is not allowed.

Arrive just 10 minutes before your appointment time and line up in front of the building entrance.

Step 2: Security Check at the Entrance

There will usually be a line of applicants outside the entrance. Join the line and wait for your turn. When your turn comes, present your appointment confirmation to security. Go through the metal detectors and scanners. Deposit your additional ID proof, cell phone and keys.

Step 3: Document Check and Biometric Validation

After the security check at the entrance, walk into the building. Present your documents to the staff at the counter for your document check and fingerprints.

Next up would be your visa interview. The staff will direct you to the widow or consular officer for your visa interview.

Step 4: Visa Interview

Present your documents to the consular officer. Answer all the questions in a clean and concise manner. The visa officer will tell you the result of your visa at the end of the interview. They will also tell you how and when to pick up your passport.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long is a us visa interview appointment.

The length of the visa appointment is usually 30 minutes and the interview itself is about 5-10 minutes. Appointments at crowded US missions such as in India or the Philippines can take longer.

Does US visa dropbox need appointment?

Yes. An appointment is mandatory even if you are eligible for dropbox. You must schedule an appointment to select a date for your biometrics and dropbox location.

What if you are late for the US visa appointment?

If you are late for your visa appointment, you will not be allowed into the consulate. You will be considered a no-show and you will have to reschedule your interview for a later date.

What if you do not show up for the interview?

If you do not show up for your interview, you will be considered a “no-show”. You will be barred from scheduling another interview for up to 120 days.

Do you need a medical exam for a US visa interview?

No. A medical exam is not required for US nonimmigrant visa such as B1/B2. Medical exams may be required for immigrant visas.

WRITTEN BY THIRUMAL MOTATI

Thirumal Motati

Thirumal Motati is an expert in tourist visa matters. He has been traveling the world on tourist visas for more than a decade. With his expertise, he has obtained several tourist visas, including the most strenuous ones such as the US, UK, Canada, and Schengen, some of which were granted multiple times. He has also set foot inside US consulates on numerous occasions. Mr. Motati has uncovered the secrets to successful visa applications. His guidance has enabled countless individuals to obtain their visas and fulfill their travel dreams. His statements have been mentioned in publications like Yahoo, BBC, The Hindu, and Travel Zoo.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER We are not affiliated with immigration, embassies or governments of any country. The content in this article is for educational and general informational purposes only, and shall not be understood or construed as, visa, immigration or legal advice. Your use of information provided in this article is solely at your own risk and you expressly agree not to rely upon any information contained in this article as a substitute for professional visa or immigration advice. Under no circumstance shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions in this article or for any damage you may suffer in respect to any actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the information in this article. Please refer to our full disclaimer for further information.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please refer to our full disclosure for further information.

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Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Citizens of qualified countries may be also able to visit the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program . If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program or are traveling to study, work, or participate in an exchange program, you must apply for a nonimmigrant visa.

Applicants for U.S. visas are required to appear in person for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You must schedule an appointment for that interview, either online using this website or through the call center .

sectionSupporting Documents

To schedule a nonimmigrant visa appointment, you must have the following information and documents available:

  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions. If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application;
  • Your visa application (MRV) fee payment receipt;
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Applicants are limited to a maximum of three times that they can reschedule their appointments. Please plan accordingly so that you are not required to pay another visa application fee.

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You may apply for a nonimmigrant visa in any country where you are present; you do not need to be a citizen or resident. However, no matter where you apply you must demonstrate that you meet all requirements specific to the visa you are trying to obtain, including demonstrating sufficient ties outside of the United States. Please be aware that:

  • You must pay the nonimmigrant visa application fee in the country where you apply.
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  • Following your visa appointment, your application will be either issued or refused. If you do not establish eligibility for a visa, the consular officer may determine that the applicant should undergo further administrative processing to help establish your eligibility. There is no guarantee of the length of time it will take to complete that processing and return your passport.
  • Once submitted, the nonimmigrant visa application and the application fee cannot be transferred to another embassy or consulate.
  • Many embassies and consulates prioritize appointments for citizens and legal residents of the country in which they are located. There may be a longer appointment wait time for non-residents

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The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the United States, and for K (fiancé(e)) visas. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.

Visa applicants must submit a completed DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application for all nonimmigrant visa categories, including applicants applying for K visas. ( Note:   For K visa cases in process at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to October 7, 2013, review the limited exceptions explained in the FAQs below.) 

Review the Frequently Asked Questions for instructions about using the DS-160.

Access the online DS-160 by clicking: Consular Electronic Application Center website .

Important Notice to Visa Applicants: After you have completed the DS-160, you must take these next steps below:

  • Print and keep the DS-160 barcode page. (You will not need to print the full application.)
  • You must schedule a visa interview appointment.  (The U.S. Embassy or Consulate does not schedule an appointment for you.) Visit the  U.S. Embassy or Consulate  website where you will be interviewed for country-specific instructions.;
  • Pay the visa application processing fee . Review country-specific instructions on the  U.S. Embassy or Consulate  website.

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  5. Travel advisor, Bahamian resident react to newest travel advisory in the Bahamas

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  1. USTravelDocs

    Learn how to obtain a visa and apply for your visa online. Schedule your interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate General by choosing your location from the list.

  2. Appointment

    Learn how to schedule, prepare for, and reschedule your immigrant visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Find out what documents, fees, and medical exams you need to bring to the interview.

  3. U.S. Visas

    A citizen of a foreign country who seeks to travel to the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa. Visas are placed in the traveler's passport, a travel document issued by the traveler's country of citizenship. Certain international travelers may be eligible to travel to the United States without a visa if they meet the ...

  4. Make an Appointment at a Passport Agency or Center

    Follow these steps to make an appointment: Call 1-877-487-2778 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Mondays through Fridays, or on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Se habla español. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-888-874-7793 for TDD/TTY teletype services.

  5. Official U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Service

    Please review the information below before scheduling or attending a visa-related appointment. Important Announcement on Waivers of the Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas. Important information about the privacy and security of your account on this website. U.S. Visa and Travel Updates

  6. Official U.S. Visa Information and Appointment Services

    Welcome to the official U.S. visa service for non-citizens traveling to the United States. This service will help you: Obtain general information on how to apply for a United States visa. Pay the required visa application fees. Submit your visa application to a U.S. embassy or consulate.

  7. USTravelDocs

    USTravelDocs

  8. U.S. passports

    Lost or stolen passports. If your passport is lost or stolen you must report it to the State Department right away. How you replace it depends on if you are inside or outside the U.S. Find out how to apply for or renew a passport for an adult or a minor under 18. Know what to do if a passport is lost or stolen.

  9. Consular Electronic Application Center

    DS-1648, Online A, G, or NATO Application. Check My Visa Application Status. IMMIGRANT. DS-261, Online Choice of Address and Agent. Fee Payment. DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. Check My Visa Application Status. This site is managed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State.

  10. How to schedule US visa appointment: A step-by-step guide

    Follow the instructions below. 1) Create just one profile/account for yourself (primary applicant) in the appointment system. Add your family members as "dependents". 2) On the payment page, you will be given a single receipt number and the total visa fee amount (for the entire family) to be paid.

  11. US Visa Appointment: Everything You Need to Know

    Step 1: Create an Account. The first step is to create an account on the visa appointment system. There are two different systems for scheduling appointments. US Travel Docs by CGI Federal: For applicants residing in Asia, Central America, parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

  12. Visa Appointment Wait Times

    Applicants scheduling visa appointments in a location different from their place of residence should check post websites for nonresident wait times. Select a U.S. embassy or consulate: Wait Times for embassy/consulate. Visa Wait Times. Nonimmigrant Visa Type. Appointment Wait Time. Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J) -- days.

  13. How to apply for or renew a U.S. tourist visa

    Visitor (tourist) visas and other travel documents for entering the U.S. The visitor visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa for people who wish to temporarily enter the U.S. There are two categories: B-1 for business travel; B-2 for tourism and medical treatment; Learn about B-1 and B-2 visas, including: Reasons you would need each type of visitor ...

  14. Visas

    Immigrant visas are based on family ties, employment, and the diversity visa. If you want to visit for a short period for a specific purpose, please learn about nonimmigrant visas above. Family Based For certain family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders). Employment For permanent employment or investment ...

  15. Apply for a U.S. Visa

    Learn how to schedule or change your appointment for a U.S. visa interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Manila. Find out the required documents, restrictions, and tips for your visa application.

  16. Apply for a new adult passport

    An official website of the United States government Here's how you know. ... You need a passport to travel to most countries outside the U.S. Learn how to apply for a passport in person, check your application status, and get it changed or corrected. ... Do not sign Form DS-11 until you are at your appointment and the passport acceptance ...

  17. Global Entry Enrollment Centers

    An official website of the United States government Here's how you know Official websites use .gov A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

  18. U.S. Passports

    Routine: 6-8 weeks* Expedited: 2-3 weeks and an extra $60* *Consider the total time it will take to get a passport when you are booking travel. Processing times only include the time your application is at a passport agency or center.. It may take up to 2 weeks for applications to arrive at a passport agency or center. It may take up to 2 weeks for you to receive a completed passport after we ...

  19. Apply for a U.S. Visa

    To schedule a nonimmigrant visa appointment, you must have the following information and documents available: A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions. If more than one person is ...

  20. Travel

    Travel.state.gov is the official website for U.S. citizens who want to travel abroad. Find information on visas, passports, health, safety, and more.

  21. Pet Travel

    Do you want to travel with your pet to another State or country? Before you go, you may need to complete certain paperwork or tasks, such as getting a health certificate for your pet. Meeting these requirements takes time, so contact your veterinarian for help as soon as you decide to travel (whether by plane, car, boat, train, or other means).

  22. Renew Your Texas DL, CDL, Motorcycle License or ID

    Visit Driver License Services - Appointments to schedule an appointment at your local driver license office. Complete the application, available online or at the office. Those under 18 need to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Provide the following documentation to the license and permit specialist:

  23. How to Get my U.S. Passport Fast

    Choose this service if you are traveling in less than 2-3 weeks. If you have not applied, make an appointment online. Your appointment at a passport agency or center must within 14 calendar days of your international travel date. If you have already applied, call us at 1-877-487-2778 . We cannot guarantee an appointment will be available.

  24. DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

    The DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, is for temporary travel to the United States, and for K (fiancé(e)) visas. Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the Department of State website via the Internet. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal ...