What to Expect on the Day of the Appointment
Before You Arrive
Before you can schedule an appointment you must complete the DS-160 application form online. Once you have done this, you will need to create a profile online to pay the application fee and to select an available date and time. When creating a profile you will be required to enter a delivery method and preferred address, this is so that we can return the passport to you after the interview if the application is approved.
You will have the following delivery options in your profile: home or office. If you select ‘office’ please ensure that you include the company name in the address. If the delivery is to a home or office, someone will need to sign for the e-parcel. If someone is not available to sign for the e-parcel, a collection slip will be left and the parcel will be re-directed to the nearest post office. Regardless of the method of delivery, please ensure that you do not enter a PO BOX address.
If you need to change the delivery address you can do so until the day of the interview by accessing your profile online.
After you have filled out the required forms and scheduled an interview, you should begin to collect the necessary supporting documents to bring to your interview.
Arriving at the Consulate
Plan to arrive at the Consulate in your district no earlier than 15 minutes before your interview is scheduled.
When you first arrive at the Consulate, you will be required to go through security before you can enter the consular section. Only the person applying for the visa will be admitted to the Consulate. If a translator is required, that person must also be registered for the appointment. Under no circumstances will family members and friends who accompany the applicant without an appointment be admitted to the Consulate, unless they are a parent accompanying a child under age 18. Children under 14 applying for a visa may not need to attend the interview at the Consulate.
Applicants are requested to bring as few personal items as possible with them to the interview, including large bags or backpacks. This ensures that the security screening process is an efficient one, and assists in preventing delays.
Certain items may not be brought into the Consulate, but may be left with security:
- Small backpacks or large purses
- Electronic equipment, including mobile phones, ipods, smart phones, tablets or e-readers (please ensure these items are turned off before screening)
- Liquids, sprays, or powders
- Fire-lighting equipment (e.g. matches, lighters)
Once screened through security, the following items may be brought into the Consulate:
- Document pouch to carry necessary papers Passport and relevant documents
- Wallet/small purse (you may be required to pay an issuance fee to our cashier)
- Newspaper/books in printed form only (e.g. no electronic books)
- Writing materials
- Car, house keys
Please note: If you need to bring a baby or toddler with you we may not have sufficient space to store a pram/stroller at security. If at all possible, please bring a smaller carrier or capsule.
Once you pass through the security checks, you will be directed to the Consulate office.
When entering the Consular Section, you will be advised to take a ticket from a ticket machine if applying in Sydney or Perth. In Melbourne, a ticket will be provided to you. From here you will be directed to a window to have your application entered, and your fingerprints recorded. According to U.S. law, all visa applicants from ages 14 to 79 need to provide digital scans of 10 fingerprints.
The Consulate staff will keep your documentation, and direct you to take a seat.
The next stage of the process is the interview with an American
consular officer. The officer will call you by your number, and the
interview typically lasts a few minutes.
The consular officer will ask you questions to determine your reason for traveling to the United States. You should answer these questions truthfully and thoroughly. In most cases, the consular officer will tell you at this time if your visa application is approved. If your visa application is approved, the consular officer will keep your application and passport so that we can issue the visa. If there is an issuance fee associated with the visa, approved applicants will be directed to the Consulate cashier to pay this fee. For more information regarding which visa classes require the payment of an issuance fee, please visit our non-immigrant fees page: http://canberra.usembassy.gov/niv_fees.html
The consular officer may request that you provide additional documentation in order to make a decision about your qualifications for a visa. The officer will advise what documents you need to collect and how they should be sent to our office. In this case, the officer may return your passport to you until we are able to issue the visa. Some applicants, including those with previous visa refusals or arrests may require additional administrative processing before an outcome can be reached. The consular officer will inform you of the procedures in these cases.
Please note that all incoming mail to the U.S. Consulate must first be screened for security purposes before it reaches our office. This process may delay the receipt of your documents by up to three business days. If you attempt to track the status of your parcel and it reflects “received,” this does not necessarily mean that a member of the Consular Staff has received or reviewed your documents
The processing times quoted below are approximate and cannot be guaranteed.
If your visa application is approved, you will need to leave your passport at the Consulate in order to process your visa. Please plan your international travel accordingly. Passports with visas are normally returned to applicants via Australia Post within 5-7 business days after the interview appointment. As advised above, the passport will be posted to the address selected in your online profile. Please ensure this is the most appropriate and accurate address before you go to the interview.
Applicants whose visa applications require additional processing should allow up to 60 days for their visas to be processed.
Applicants who have previously been arrested or convicted will likely require additional processing. To facilitate this process, we recommend that you bring any documents related to the arrest or immigration violation with you to the interview. We need as much information as possible in order to determine your eligibility for a visa and it is your responsibility to provide us with the relevant documents.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for visas well in advance of their proposed travel. You should never pay for travel arrangements (e.g., airfare, hotels) without having a visa in your possession. The U.S. Consulate General accepts no responsibility if you do so. We are unable to guarantee the issuance of a U.S. visa before a fixed travel date.
In some cases your visa application may be refused. Please see our ‘Refusals and Administrative Processing’ page for more information on the different types of refusals and when you may be able to reapply. If your application is denied, the officer will return your passport to you, but will retain the application.
If your application is refused, the MRV processing fee will not be refunded.