Visas for Children

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Overview

All travelers, including children, are required to have a visa to enter the United States. The application process for children is the same as for adults—you will need to complete the DS-160 application form, pay the visa fee, and schedule an appointment. Both biological parents and/or legal guardians should attend the interview, if possible. The child's presence at the VAC and U.S. Embassy appointments depend on the child's age. Both parents should bring their passports (or Dominican cédula if one of the parents does not have a passport) and the child's legalized birth certificate to the interview.

If the biological parents of the child are divorced or separated, both parents should accompany the child to the interview whenever possible, even if only one parent has custody of the child. Legal custody documents should be brought to the interview if available. If you do not have these documents, or do not know the whereabouts of the other parent of your child, you can still apply for a visa for your child.

Children born in the United States (with very few exceptions) are U.S. citizens and are not eligible for a visa. Children born abroad to U.S. citizen parent(s) may have a claim to U.S. citizenship via the Consular Report of Birth Abroad process. Any child with a possible claim to citizenship is ineligible for a visa until a final determination has been made.

Questions and Answers

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 a special program, such as the Visa Waiver Program.

Q: Do children pay the same application fee as adults?

A: Yes.

Q: Do children need to schedule an interview appointment? Do all children have to come in person for their appointment?

A: Whether a child needs to schedule an interview depends on the child’s age and the parents’ visa status.

If either of the parents do not have a valid visa in the classification in which the child is applying: In most cases, these are families applying together. Two appointments are needed: one at the VAC and one at the Embassy. Children under the age of 14 do not need to attend the VAC appointment or the Embassy appointment. If a child does not attend the VAC appointment, the parents must bring a compliant 2X2” (50 mm by 50 mm) photograph to that appointment.

If both parents have valid visas in the classification in which the child is applying:If the child is age 13 or under and both parents hold valid visas, the child’s application can be submitted via the mail-in service with Mailboxes, Etc or at the VAC. Applicants must still pay the corresponding visa application fee. The parents must submit a compliant 2X2” (50 mm by 50 mm) photograph along with the other application documents at Mailboxes, Etc. or at the VAC.

Drop-box Program

To qualify for the Drop-box program, applicants must comply with the following:

Minor applicants:The child must be less than 14 years old with at least one month between submission of application and the child’s 14th birthday; and both parents must hold valid full validity visas – or if only one parent is listed on the birth certificate, that parent must have a valid full validity visa. If either/both parents are ESTA  (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) qualified, this counts as a “valid visa”. The parents must deposit the child’s passport, DS-160 confirmation page, recent 2x2” picture, a copy of parent(s)’s passport bio page and the visa and/or ESTA approval.

Renewals for Applicants under 14 years of age: If the visa renewal is for an applicant who is under 14 and has at least one month before their 14th birthday at the time of drop-off, they may also use the drop-box system. This is true whether or not the prior visa expired more than a year ago.

If the child is age 14 or over, parents must schedule appointments at the VAC and the U.S. Embassy. The child is required to attend both appointments.

Q: Will my child be fingerprinted?

A: Most applicants under the age of 14 are not fingerprinted.

Q: What should I expect while waiting for my child’s appointment?

A: The consular officials strive to interview applicants promptly upon their arrival at the U.S. Embassy; however you should be prepared to wait until a consul is available to interview you. Please plan accordingly by dressing your children in comfortable clothing (layers are recommended because you may briefly wait outside in a covered area before entering the building) and bringing a small book or toy to entertain them while waiting. (Review the security procedures for guidelines on what can be brought to the U.S. Embassy.) There are bathrooms, light snacks, and water available to all applicants while they wait.