The US Mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including the US Embassy Abu Dhabi and the US Consulate Dubai, is making the transition to a new appointment service for anyone applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the US.
Beginning January 6, 2013, US visa applicants will work online or via telephone with a service provider to schedule an interview, pay the visa application fee, and arrange for the delivery of documents and passports. The new appointment service will also allow US visa applicants to schedule a visa interview, pay the visa application fee and arrange for delivery of documents and passports. This new service will also allow applicants to schedule a visa interview with more flexibility and up to 6 months in advance of travel plans.
Under the new process, US visa applicants can go online and complete the US visa application, pay the visa application fee, schedule an appointment and arrange to have their passport delivered at the end of the application process to an Empost office anywhere in the UAE. The entire process can be done 24 hours a day using the online system. During day time hours, applicants can also obtain assistance from a live operator call center with services in Arabic, English and Farsi. The call center can also assist with scheduling an appointment, provided the visa applicant has already paid the visa application fee. After that, the applicant must then attend the scheduled interview at the US Embassy Abu Dhabi or Consulate General Dubai.
As part of the transition from the current US visa application process, those seeking interviews in December 2012 will notice that no appointments are available online after December 31, 2012. There will be a brief interim period before the transition takes place during which it will not be possible to schedule a US visa interview. The new visa appointment system will debut January 6, 2013, after which visa appointments will be available at both the US Embassy Abu Dhabi and the US Consulate General Dubai well into the first 6 months of 2013.
The United States Mission to the United Arab Emirates wants to ensure that visa applicants already in the scheduling process are not negatively impacted by the change. If applicants have not already made an appointment and do not have immediate travel plans, they may choose to wait fo the new system to become available on January 6, 2013. However, if a visa applicant has already paid the US visa application fee and made an appointment, that appointment will be honored. Visa applicants should arrive at the US Embassy Abu Dhabi or US Consulate Dubai as instructed in their appointment confirmation, bringing with them their DS-160 application confirmation page, passport and National Bank of Abu Dhabi visa application fee payment receipt. Since the process for paying the visa fee will be very different under the new visa appointment system, we recommend that visa applicants not pay the fee unless they are sure they will receive an appointment prior to December 31, 2012. Those who pay the fee and do not have an interview before December 31, 2012, may have to pay the visa fee again under the new visa appointment system. Please note that the US Mission UAE will be unable to refund the National Bank of Abu Dhabi visa application fees if unused.
For more information and a full list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the website of the US Embassy Abu Dhabi or the US Consulate General Dubai.