Apply Early for Your U.S. Visa before the Holiday Rush

Ask the Counsul

The United States Embassy is happy to answer some common questions that non-immigrant visa holders and applicants may have.

Q:        I’d like to apply for a visa to visit the United States during the December holiday season.  What’s the first step?

A:        The U.S. Embassy highly encourages those who wish to travel to the United States in December to schedule their visa interview as soon as possible.  Each December, the number of visa applicants rises, making wait times to receive an appointment longer.  Remember, in most cases it normally takes seven days after your visa is approved before the visa is ready to uplift.  In a few cases, it can take much longer.

Q:        What type of visa do I need?

A:        If your primary purpose of travel is to visit family or friends, or for tourism, a B1/B2 or “holiday” visa is the visa you will need.  For complete U.S. travel and visa information please visit

Q:        Now that I know what visa I need, how do I apply?

A: Please see complete information at:  In general, there are four steps:  1) complete the application form online; 2) register for visa services and pay the visa application fee; 3) schedule your interview; and 4) come to your interview.

Q:        Do I need assistance to prepare my visa application?

A: No.  The Embassy encourages you to prepare your application yourself.  If you need assistance, choose wisely.  YOU are responsible for what is in your application, whether you typed it yourself or had someone do it for you.

Q:        What time should I appear at the U.S. Embassy for my visa interview?

A: Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes before your appointment time on the day and time scheduled.

Q:        What should I bring to my Non-Immigrant Visa Interview?

A:  Bring your passport, one 2×2 inch photo, and your application confirmation page.

Applicants under the age of 18 must submit original birth certificates issued within the past two (2) years by the General Register Office.  Applicants under age 14 are not required to accompany their parents to the interview.

Q:        May I bring my friend to the interview?

A: Only minors, people with disabilities, interpreters (for applicants who do not speak English), and elderly individuals requiring special assistance may bring a family member (or interpreter) to the interview.

Q:        What security procedures must I follow when arriving to the U.S. Embassy?

A:        You will be screened by security personnel before entry.  Certain items are not permitted in the Embassy including food, liquids, guns, weapons, cellular telephones, photographic or video cameras, radios, computers or other electronic equipment. See the complete list of prohibited items at

Q:        I completed my interview. My visa has been approved. What do I do now?

A: If your visa application is approved, the Consular Officer will provide you written instructions regarding how to uplift your passport and visa at our Document Service Center, located at 345 Middle and East Streets, North Cummingsburg, Georgetown.

“Ask the Consul” from the U.S. Embassy Consular Section answers questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. If you have a general question about visa policy, please email it to us at We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News.

Information about visas and travel can be viewed at,, and

Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. Regulations change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate, incomplete and inaccurate information.

Other than the columns you see printed here, we are unable to respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul. Please contact the Visa Information Service on telephone number 225-8732 or 703-439-2359 if you have procedural questions or e-mail for case specific information.

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