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General Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a visa to travel to the United States?

Most people require a visa to enter the United States. However, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. For details, please go to:

The United States has implemented changes to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in accordance with the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 (the Act). U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) welcomes more than a million passengers arriving to the United States every day, and is committed to facilitating legitimate travel while maintaining the highest standards of security and border protection. Under the Act, travelers in the following categories are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program:

  • Nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen or Syria on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
  • Nationals of VWP countries who are also nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria.

These individuals are still eligible to travel to the United States; however they must first apply for a visa using the regular process at a U.S. embassie or consulate. For those who need a U.S. visa for urgent business, medical, or humanitarian travel to the United States, U.S. embassies and consulates stand ready to process applications on an expedited basis.

Beginning January 21, 2016, travelers who currently have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTAs) and who have previously indicated holding dual nationality with one of the four countries listed above on their ESTA applications will have their current ESTAs revoked.

Read the full statement on the CBP website.

When should I apply for my visa?

Applicants should apply for their visas at least 4 months in advance of their intended date of travel. If approved, most visas will be stamped into the passport and delivered to the applicant by Empost courier service in three to five business days following the day of your interview. However, in many cases a visa may be subject to additional processing. Visa processing can vary greatly in length, from a few days to months. The officer cannot predict how long the processing will take until the applicant is at the visa window.

Can I get an early appointment date for an urgent business meeting?

A limited number of emergency appointments are available to those with business travel that must occur prior to the scheduled appointment date.  Applicants requesting emergency appointments will be asked to submit documentary evidence for the urgency in travel. Please visit for more information.

How does a visa officer decide who gets a visa to the US?

A visa officer assesses applicants’ academic, family, social and economic ties to their place of residence to determine whether to issue a visa. Most visa refusals are not permanent. You can apply again when you can demonstrate a change in your situation.

How can I “renew” my visa to the U.S.?

The U.S. Consulate does not renew existing visas. Applicants must apply for the visa from the beginning, just as though they are applying for the first time. Instructions and application forms can be found at:

What can I expect on the day of my interview?

You should arrive at the U.S. Consulate at your scheduled appointment time. For directions, please click here. Visitor parking is located at the intersection of Khalifa Bin Zayed Road and Al Seef Road.The Consulate guards and local police will guide you through a series of security checks. You will not be allowed to enter the Consulate with large purses, bags, and electronic equipment (including mobile telephones). These items will be left outside the Consulate and returned to you once you have finished your interview. When you arrive in the visa waiting room, you will be directed to a counter where you can submit your application materials. If your application is incomplete, you will be sent away to complete your application and reappear at the Consulate before 9:00. If you are unable to complete your application by 9:00, you will not be readmitted to the Consulate and will have to reschedule your appointment for another day.

If your application is complete, you will be given a number and asked to sit in the visa waiting room until the number is called. Unfortunately, because of applicants’ wide variety of language/translation needs, visa types and paperwork requirements, numbers cannot be called in perfect order. However, we do try our best to ensure that applicants are called for their interview in the approximate order in which they submitted their visa applications at the intake window. Applicants may be at the Consulate as late as 12:30 on the day of their interview, and we ask that you plan accordingly. Refreshments are available in the waiting room, but bringing in outside food is not permitted.

We thank you for your patience.

How do I change my appointment time/date if I forgot to record my confirmation number?

Instructions on how to change you appointment or attain additional details can be found at:

Why isn’t my case number on the visa status website, but numbers similar to mine are already posted?

The appearance of other numbers that are similar to yours on the website is irrelevant to the processing of your own case. Every applicant is assigned a unique case number for his or her individual case. This number is not related to the numbers assigned before or after it. The U.S. Consulate processes different kinds of visas in different ways, and that processing can vary widely in length.

Can I make a visa appointment in Abu Dhabi if I live in Dubai?

Citizens/Residents of the United Arab Emirates are welcome to apply in either Abu Dhabi or in Dubai.

I’m on vacation in Dubai. Can I make a visa appointment in Dubai if I am only visiting as a tourist?

There is no official policy banning non-residents from applying for US visas. However, we strongly encourage you to apply where you keep your permanent residence. The visa officer must assess your family, social and economic ties to your place of residence, and this is very difficult to do from outside your own consular district. The likelihood of visa issuance is generally higher when applicants apply in their own consular district.

I was refused for a visa. What can I do?

Applicants are free to apply again at their discretion, but are strongly encouraged to wait until they can show significant changes in their family, social and economic ties to their place of residence and/or changes in their travel history. In the reapplication process, applicants must provide new and convincing evidence of ties to the UAE, as well as any new evidence that they clearly intend to depart after a temporary period in the United States. Please be reminded that the fee charged is a "processing" fee, which is non-refundable whether or not a visa is issued. Because the officer at the second interview needs to see new and compelling evidence, reapplying immediately after a visa refusal may not result in a visa issuance.

The visa officer refused me without even looking at my documents. Why?

The visa officer can gather information sufficient for a visa decision from the extensive visa application forms and from the interview itself. If the officer wants to see additional documents, he or she will ask for them at the interview, but they are not always necessary to make a visa decision.

I want to work in the US. How should I get started?

Once you have an offer of temporary employment, the American company should petition the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Once the petition is approved, the beneficiary will receive an approval notice, he or she can apply for a temporary work visa by making a normal appointment at

What documents should I bring to the interview?

Instructions on what documents to bring, how to make an appointment, and application forms can be found at:

How do I find information on my green card, immigration petition, adoption, or fiancée visa?

U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi handles all immigration enquiries. Please contact them at 02 414 2200 or visit their website at

My spouse or children are in my passport. How should I apply for them?

Every person appearing for an interview (UAE residents between 14 and 79 years of age, and Iranians of all ages) must make an online appointment regardless of if the share a passport. Each child or adult who is applying for a visa needs his or her own application forms, photographs, and fee payment receipt from the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Are there any special considerations given to friends, relatives, fiancées or spouses of American citizens?

No. All visa applicants are subject to the same rules and processing.
How does a visa officer decide who gets a visa to the US?
A visa officer assesses an applicant’s family, social and economic ties to their place of residence to determine whether to issue a visa. Most visa refusals are not permanent. You can apply again when you can demonstrate a change in your situation.

Why is it taking so long for my case number to appear on the visa status website?

If your case number is not on the visa status website, it is still under processing. Some wait times for processing can exceed 4 months. Unfortunately, the U.S. Consulate does not control the speed of visa processing. If your number has not appeared after 150 days, please email us at

When my visa is ready, do I have to drop off my passport in person?

Visa applicants do not have to present themselves when dropping-off a passport and can delegate anyone to drop the passport off.  for more information please visit :

How long will my visa take to be issued?

Visa processing can vary greatly in length, from a few days to a few months. It is recommended that applicants apply at least four months before their intended date of travel. The consulate strongly recommends against purchasing non-refundable airline tickets until the visa is approved and stamped in your passport.

Why is the visa status website not updated every day?

The visa status website is updated when there are updates to add. The website is not updated when there are no changes.

How long will I wait for my interview on the day of my appointment?

Security at the U.S. Consulate General is very stringent. Applicants can expect to go through several security checks and a face a significant wait in the visa waiting room. Applicants may be at the Consulate General as late as 12:30 on the day of their interview, and perhaps longer during the busy summer season.

Should I bring my children to the visa interview?

All applicants, children and adults, must have their own online visa appointment. Parents may apply for children under 14 years of age by making an online visa appointment and appearing for an interview on their behalf. Children under the age of 14 who are resident in the UAE do not need to be present* at the Consulate for their visa interview.  The parent can represent the minor child however they must have their own DS-160 application  and a scheduled appointment.

However, *all nationals of Iran, Cuba, Syria and Sudan, including children under the age of 14, must appear at the Consulate for their visa interview.

What can I do if my I-94 Departing Registration Form was not received by the airline upon my departure from the U.S.?

If you returned home with your Form I-94 or I-94W Departure Registration Form in your passport it means that your departure was not reported properly. It is your responsibility to correct this record. You must return your Form I-94 or I-94W to the Dfepartment of Homeland Security so your departure can be documented. Please include a statement of explanation in English and documents to support your statement. Your original tickets and boarding passes and/or stamps in your passport that indicate entry into another country may be helpful in establishing your departure. Please submit copies of all passport pages containing relevant stamps, as well as your passport’s biographical and photograph pages. Retain a copy of all original materials you send; the DHS cannot return them after processing. Please do not mail forms or documents to the Consulate. Send your statement and supporting documents to:

1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744
United States of America

When will my visa be ready and how will I receive it?

Upon approval, most visas will be stamped into the passport and delivered to the applicant by Empost courier service in two to three business days following the day of your interview. There is no pick up directly from the U.S Consulate. Please note that in many cases a visa may be subject to additional processing. Visa processing can vary greatly in length, from a few days to a few months. The officer cannot know how long the processing takes until the applicant is at the visa window. The applicant will be given an estimate of the visa processing time at the interview. For this reason, the U.S. Consulate strongly suggests that you apply at least 4 months in advance of your intended date of travel.

What is the Final decision on the Defense of Marriage Act?

Please refer to the following website link for further information.

I am taking my domestic servant to America. Why do I have to complete the Domestic Servant Contract?

U.S. labor law requires personal domestic servants (nannies, butlers, cooks, drivers, caretakers, etc.) be paid by U.S. salary standards while they are in the United States, which is generally higher than the salary offered in the UAE. For this reason, employers should carefully consider whether they can afford to bring their domestic servants to the US. The legal minimum wage varies from state to state. You should check the minimum wage law for the state you are visiting to calculate the correct salary that you must pay your domestic servant while he or she is in the U.S.

The Domestic Servant Contract, which is required for all domestic servant visa applications, is the employer’s pledge to the U.S. government that he or she will pay the domestic servant in accordance with U.S. labor law. Employers who fail to do this will not be allowed to take domestic servants to the U.S. in the future and risk having their own visas cancelled or refused.

Applicants with previous travel to the U.S. will be requested to provide proof of salary payment on previous trips, so be sure to record payments in detail using cancelled checks, bank statements or signed receipts. You may apply without these documents, but issuance of the domestic servant visa is at the discretion of the visa officer.

What kind of information is collected when my fingerprints are taken?

In order to understand the biometric procedure, please check this site:

How do I know if a website or email is from the U.S. government?

The Department of State, Office of Visa Services, advises the public of possible fraudulent emails and letters sent to applicants. For more information go to:

Visa Scam Websites Target Iranians

We have received reports of websites not affiliated with the United States Government encouraging persons in Iran to apply for U.S. visas. We remind you that the only legitimate sources for information about visas to the United States are,,, and or in Persian at Applications for U.S. visas may only be submitted through or in Persian at Additional information related to visas and immigration to the United States may be found on the Department of Homeland Security’s websites, including:,

Where can I find visa fees?

Visa reciprocity fees: