Visas for Children
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Questions and Answers
Q: Who qualifies as a “child?”
A: The term “child” refers generally to an unmarried person under 21 years of age. A parent may accompany their child to the interview if their child is below 18 years of age. A parent may also accompany a child regardless of any age if the child suffers from a serious disability which requires the presence of a caregiver.
Q: Do children need a visa?
A: All travelers, including children need a visa to travel to the United States or must qualify to travel without a visa through Visa Waiver Program.
Q: Do children pay the same application fee as adults?
Q: Do children need to schedule an appointment and come in person for an interview?
A: In general, all nonimmigrant visa applicants require a personal appearance when applying for a U.S. visa regardless of any age, except for the children eligible for Drop Box. However, a consular officer is authorized to waive the interview of any applicant (first-time or visa renewal) who is applying in the consular district of their normal residence. The Adjudicating Consular Officer determines the personal appearance requirement and make discretion in accordance with the provision of the law.
Q: What documents should a child bring?
A: Applying for a nonimmigrant visa is not primarily a document-based process. In many cases, the DS-160 visa application form and information provided by the applicant during the visa interview is sufficient for the Consular Officer to determine eligibility for a visa. We do suggest though that supporting documents be readily available to present, if asked, which demonstrate eligibility for a visa. Our best advice is for you to explain your personal circumstances truthfully and in detail. Why do you want to visit the U.S.? Are you visiting family, going to study, etc.? The consular officer considers whether your story makes sense and considers what would compel you to return home, i.e., do you need to return to your school, your family, your pet? Since each applicant has different circumstances, there is no right or wrong answer. In other words, don’t exaggerate or embellish, telling us what you think we want to hear. Listen to the questions the officer is asking, and answer them truthfully about why you need to travel and what compels you to return. If your purpose of travel makes sense, you have good reasons to return home, and we believe you’ll use your visa properly, then you’ll likely get the visa. The Consular Officer must follow the U.S. law and presume you intend to immigrate.