It's Important to Apply Early
Responding to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the State
Department, working with other U.S. Government agencies, has
been engaged in an extensive and ongoing review of visa
issuing practices as they relate to our national security.
Visa applications are now subject to a
greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. For many
applicants, a personal appearance interview is required as a
standard part of visa processing. Additionally, applicants
affected by these procedures are informed of the need for
additional screening at the time they submit their
applications and are being advised to expect delays. The
time needed for adjudication of individual cases will
continue to be difficult to predict. For travelers, the need
for an interview will mean additional coordination with the
embassy or consulate is needed to schedule an interview
appointment. We recommend that individuals build in ample
time before their planned travel date when seeking to obtain
We recognize that these delays are having an impact on visa
applicants, and we have already had success streamlining the
process, consistent with our security and legal
responsibilities. The State Department is working hard with
other government agencies to rationalize clearance
procedures in ways that continue to protect US borders, our
first priority, while facilitating legitimate travel.
We trust that affected applicants will understand that this
waiting period is necessary as we strive to make every
effort to ensure the safety and security of the United
States for all who are here, including foreign visitors.
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