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Posted On: 26 January 2014 04:19 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:13 pm

Waiting time for US visa reduced: Embassy

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The US embassy said yesterday that the waiting time for a US visa for applicants from Qatar has been “dramatically reduced.”

The applicants are now not required to wait for more than a week for an appointment, the embassy said in response to queries from readers of The Peninsula and Al Sharq about the visa rules and procedures.

“We are proud of the streamlined application process that we offer to travellers from Qatar. We have made significant strides in facilitating the visa application process for applicants from Qatar. For example, the waiting time for a visa appointment has been dramatically reduced, with applicants rarely waiting for more than a week for an appointment. We look forward to welcoming Qatari travellers to our country and hope to see the number of Qataris travelling to the US for business, study, tourism, and other purposes continue to increase,” said the embassy.

The mission, however, hinted that a visa exemption for Qataris travelling to the US, “within the framework of reciprocity” is not possible. About 30,000 people applied for US visas in Doha last year, it added.

The embassy said it had not authorised any private company to facilitate visa applications or processing.

“Applicants who pay travel companies or other individuals to fill out their visa applications do so at their own risk. Every applicant is responsible for the content in their own application,” said the embassy.

In general, visa processing requires one to two working days. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which can take a number of weeks after the visa interview and the applicants will be advised about this, said the embassy.

When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. People have been advised to apply early, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.

All visitors to the US embassy, including visa applicants, must undergo routine security screening. Items not allowed into the embassy include: mobile phones, computers, or electronics; suitcases, backpacks, packages, or purses; fluids, chemicals, aerosols, or hazardous materials; weapons or dangerous objects of any kind.

Before applying for a student or exchange visit visa, all applicants are required to be accepted and approved for their study programme. Upon acceptance, educational institutions and programme sponsors will provide each applicant the necessary approval documentation to be submitted when applying for a visa.

Visa applicants, including children, are required to pay a non-refundable, non-transferable visa application fee, sometimes referred to as the MRV fee, before applying for a non-immigrant visa.

The visa application fee must be paid whether a visa is issued or not. The type of visa determines the fee amount. Most visa applicants apply for the B1/B2 business/tourist visa, and the fee for that visa is currently $165.

Depending on the applicant’s citizenship and the type of visa he/she is applying for, applicant may also have to pay a visa issuance or “reciprocity” fee.

If the applicant renews or changes his/her passport after stamping the visa, the person can travel to the US with the old and new passports, as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for the principal purpose of travel. (example: tourist visa, when the principal purpose of travel is tourism).

Both passports (the valid and the expired one with the visa) must be from the same country and type (example: both Qatari regular passports, both official passports, etc), and personal data (name, date of birth, place of birth) on both passports must be the same.

“When you arrive at the US port-of-entry the Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer will check your visa in the old passport and if she/he decides to admit you into the US they will stamp your new passport with an admission stamp along with the annotation “VIOPP” (visa in other passport). Do not try to remove the visa from your old passport and stick it into the new valid passport. If you do so, your visa will no longer be valid,” said the embassy.