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Applicants for U.S. Visas Do Not Need to Leave Passport with Consular Officer
Consular Officers do not need to retain applicants’ passports. Print this letter and bring it to your visa interview.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Letter
Learn what causes visa application delays and how to report them.
Visa Delays & Help
Disclaimer: Please note that this content is for general information purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that the information provided is accurate and up-to-date, regulations may change. The only authoritative sources on U.S. visas are U.S. government websites.
Attention: APS Cannot intervene with U.S. Embassies or consulates abroad, or with the U.S.State Department on behalf of any member or APS meeting attendee.
What type of visa?
Generally, non-U.S. citizens/residents must obtain a nonimmigrant B-1/B-2 visa to enter the United States for a temporary visit.
Visitor Visa Information from the U.S. Department of State
Visa Waiver Program
Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens of certain countries may travel to the United States for stays of 90 days or less without a visa. Anyone traveling under VWP must apply for authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Visa Waiver Program Information
Electronic System for Travel Authorization
Set Up Your Visa Interview
If you are not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you may be required to appear at a U.S. embassy or consulate for an in-person interview prior to visa approval. There may be long waits to schedule an interview, so start the application process as early as possible.
Visa Appointment & Processing Wait Times
What to Bring to Your Visa Interview
Visa Wait Times
The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs provides visa wait times for every U.S. Consulate worldwide.
Visa Wait Times
Some applications require additional "administrative processing" and this adds several weeks to the application process. Applicants involved in scientific fields are often subjected to administrative processing and should apply for visas as early as possible, preferably 3-4 months in advance. Bring your CV and letter of invitation to the visa interview to help facilitate any additional processing.
Administrative Processing Information
Information on what to do if your application is delayed excessively, and tips to avoid issues and delays.
Information on the Visa Waiver Program, the Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Department of Homeland Security's Travel Redress Inquiry Program.
Entering the United States
Making a Temporary Visit Outside of the U.S.
Visitors currently in the United States who plan to temporarily visit their home country and reapply for a U.S. visa can make some of their return preparations before leaving the United States.
Tips for Temporary Visits