Ask the U.S. Consul — May 2017

Question: My family would like to travel for the summer holiday but my mother and 12 year old daughter need to apply for their visas. My mother is very elderly and my daughter is studying for her exams. Do they have to come to the Embassy for an interview?

Answer: Thank you for your question.  When applying for a business/tourist (B1/B2) visa, sooner is always better for planning purposes.  The summer travel season is particularly busy and we strongly advise visa applicants to apply as early as possible.

Through the Interview Waiver Program (formerly known as the Drop Box), applicants under 14 years old and over 79 years of age, who have not been previously refused a visa, do not need to come in for an interview. Even if a family is applying together, children under 14 are not required to be present at the interview.

Please follow the application process at After preparing the DS-160 application form, registering online and paying the application fee, the documents are sent to the Consular Section for processing via DHL. Instructions will be provided on your confirmation page, please follow them closely.

The Interview Waiver Program is not an expedited visa process. Applications cannot be hand-delivered to the Embassy and must be delivered by DHL. Likewise, return delivery to you must be by DHL.  Successful applicants will typically have their passports returned to them in two weeks. As always, we recommend that applicants wait until their visas are delivered prior to finalizing airline tickets and other travel arrangements.

If you plan on travelling this summer to the United States, begin the process as soon as you can to avoid the possible increased wait times for an appointment. More detailed information about the overall visa application process is available online at: or via the telephone service at: 868-224-3099 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.