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What to Expect on the Day of your Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Interview:
Note: The following interview procedures only apply to U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. It usually takes about one to two hours from the time you enter the Embassy until the end of the interview. Procedures and times at the U.S. Consulates in Osaka, Naha, Sapporo, and Fukuoka may differ.
1. Entry Processing
- The time on the appointment letter is the time to arrive at the Embassy gate. It is not the time for your interview with the visa officer.
- You are only allowed to come to the gate 15 minutes before the appointment time.
- All applicants must pass through security, which includes putting your personal belongings through an x-ray machine and walking through a metal detector. When planning your visit, bring only what is needed for your business with us. Reading material is permitted, but food, luggage, backpacks, briefcases, and any purse or bag larger than 10″ x 10″ cannot be brought into the embassy. If you have such items with you, you will not be allowed into the Embassy, will need to store them at your own expense, and may have to reschedule your appointment.
- Except for one cell phone, all electronic devices such as iPod, PDAs, laptops, thumbs drive, portable game devices, etc. must also be left at home before your arrival at the Embassy.
2. Appointment Check
After passing through security, please line up in front of the desk at the consular entrance so that our staff can perform appointment check. Please have your appointment confirmation page ready. You will be given a number slip after checked in. Pay attention to the number you get. Your number will be displayed on the monitor along with bell sound during the process.
What do I need to bring?
- All the required documents for a visa: Appointment confirmation page, passport, DS160 confirmation page, one photo along with required supporting documents. For a list of supporting documents for each visa type, please see here.
- Note: Please make sure documents are placed in the specified order (PDF 153KB). If you fail to put your documents in the specified order or have incomplete forms, your entrance to the Visa Section will be delayed.
After preliminary screening, you will go through a security check again, which includes putting your personal belongings through an x-ray machine and walking through a metal detector.
3. Submit your documents at Window #1
- After passing through security, please go directly to Window #1 (the intake window) in the Visa Section waiting room to submit your documents.
- After your documents have been submitted, we will enter your application information into the system. Application processing time varies according to visa category. Some applicants who arrive after you may be called earlier than you. We recommend that applicants bring reading material to pass the time.
4. Fingerprinting Procedures
- When your number is called, please proceed to the window.
- Place four left-hand fingers flat on the green square. Repeat this procedure with your right-hand fingers. Then place your thumbs together on the green square.
After you are fingerprinted, please go to the blue line to wait for your interview with a consular officer.
When will I know if I get a visa?
- The consular officer will tell you at the interview if you qualify, or if you are missing something to qualify, or if you don’t qualify
When do I get my visa?
Provided the visa is approved at the time of the visa interview, most applicants receive their visas in about seven days from their interviews. However, we do not guarantee that every case will be processed in the seven days time frame. Longer processing time may also be required in the following situations:
- in cases where the applicant has failed to submit all the required elements of an application;
- in cases where the Consular officer requires additional information from the applicant; and
- in cases where the case requires additional administrative processing. For further information on administrative processing, see Administrative Processing Status Check page.
We recommend prospective travelers submit their applications well in advance. Applicants should refrain from contacting the Embassy Consular Section merely to inquire about the status of their application until the full processing time has expired. We also strongly recommend that applicants not purchase airplane tickets or make nonrefundable travel arrangements until they have actually received their visa; visa applicants should never assume their application will be automatically approved.