Ask the Consul — July 2018

Question: How do you qualify for an emergency visa and how fast can the Embassy deliver the visa to me?

Answer: Thank you for your question.  We certainly understand and are sympathetic to the fact that emergencies do arise, however there is actually no Emergency Visa Category.

Visa applicants sometimes confuse the emergency nature or purpose of their travel with the type of visa they are actually seeking.  In almost all these cases, the visa category will be the B1/B2 business or tourist visa, which is a type of non-immigrant visa.

In cases involving the death or serious illness of immediate family members in the United States, we appreciate the pain and sadness people feel, and we try to accommodate visa applications as quickly as possible.  While there is no special visa category for family emergency cases, visa applicants can request an expedited interview appointment, which requires written documentation supporting the nature of their emergency.  This will allow the applicants to schedule their interview sooner, but it does not expedite the processing of the visa.  Visa processing  usually takes approximately 5-7 business days after the interview.

Another example of an emergency visa situation is the last-minute or urgent business meeting or training.  Unfortunately, no matter how important the meeting or how time-sensitive the matter, the Embassy cannot expedite the necessary visa processing time and required clearances.  Once processing is completed, passports are returned by courier to the address selected online and cannot be collected at the Embassy.

Regardless of the purpose of the travel, the duration of the trip, or the emergency nature of the situation, applicants still must qualify for the visa and wait the necessary clearance and processing time.

For all the above reasons, we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your visas current and apply early.  If your visa is about to expire, you don’t need to wait until it expires to apply for a new one. We strongly encourage visa applicants to be prepared in case a family emergency occurs.

By applying early and keeping your visas current, you will avoid the hassles and disappointment of trying to get your visa renewed in a hurry, or possibly not being able to travel to the United States as early as you would like.

To apply now, follow this link: