Ask the U.S. Consul March 2016

Visa photo

Dear U.S. Consul,

Why does the Embassy always ask applicants to come in early every year before the summer? Is there some special consideration given if I come in at this time?

Sincerely, Visa applicant

Dear Visa applicant,

Thank you for your question.  When applying for a business/tourist (B1/B2) visa, sooner is always the better in terms of timing.  However, this year, the U.S. Embassy anticipates a possible 35 percent surge in tourist visa applications as peak visa numbers issued ten years ago are due to expire this year.  We are urging visa applicants to make plans to come in as early as possible given the anticipated bump in applications expected.

Applying well in advance of your expected travel dates is also smart.  One of the main benefits to coming in early is to avoid any unnecessary complications in travel plans should your visa processing get delayed.  Currently, the wait time for a tourist visa appointment is about three working days.

If your current tourist visa hasn’t yet expired, you do not need to wait until it does to apply for a visa renewal.   Keep in mind that you may apply for a new visa at any time before or after a current visa expires.  So again, if you plan on travelling this summer to the United States, come in to see us within the next couple months, this will be the smart way to avoid long summer wait times.

Also, if you are applying for children under 14 years old, you may be eligible to use the “drop box” application process and qualify for a Personal Appearance Waiver.  Children qualify for this program if they are under the age of 14, have not previously had a U.S. visa application denied, and have at least one parent who holds a valid U.S. visa.

More detailed information about the overall visa application process is available online at: or via the telephone service at: 868-224-3099.  Telephone hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The Consul