Frequently Asked Questions
Non-immigrant Visa Inquiries
Q: Can I request an earlier or later interview appointment? Or if I did not come for my scheduled interview, can I request a new interview appointment?
If an applicant wishes to schedule a new NIV visa interview appointment, he or she should follow the instructions provided at our webpage “How to Apply.” At this webpage you will also find instructions for regular and expedited appointments.
Q: What is administrative processing and what can I do to move my application forward?
Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on individual circumstances of each case. Visa applicants are reminded to apply early for their visa, well in advance of the anticipated travel date.
Important Notice: Before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later. If you inquire about a case which is less than 60 days pending, we will be unable to answer your inquiry.
Q: I brought all the documents to my interview, but the Consul didn’t even look at them!
The U.S. visitor visa process is not document driven. For certain types of visas (like if you are going for medical treatment or if you are going to study in the U.S.), you will need to provide certain documents. However, there are no required documents for visitor (B1/B2) visas. Unless the interviewing consular officer has a specific question, we will not ask for documents. Our online application form is very detailed, and the officer will use your answers on the application and in the interview to determine if you qualify for a visitor visa. Letters of invitation from U.S. residents are not required and our consular officers cannot take into account assurances from interested third parties, even U.S. citizens, when reaching visa decisions. Please note that the I-134 Affidavit of Support is not for visitor visa applications and will not be reviewed. If the consular officer decides that your case is one of the rare few that does require documents of one type or another, you will be given a chance to submit those for review after the interview.
Q: Can I still qualify for a tourist visa if I have a pending immigrant petition?
Having an immigrant petition on file is not grounds for an automatic refusal for a non-immigrant visa. The consular officer reviewing your non-immigrant visa application will require strong evidence that you are not intending to immigrate at this time and that you are returning to the Albania after your planned and temporary visit to the United States. If you have a pending immigrant petition and you conceal it from the interviewing officer, you may reduce your chances of being seen as a credible applicant.
Q: The validity period of my nonimmigrant visa does not cover my intended stay in the United States.
The validity period of a visa relates only to the period of time in which the holder may travel to the United States and apply for admission. It does not determine the length of stay. This is a matter for U.S. immigration at the port of entry.
Q: How can I find out how long I am authorized to stay in the U.S.?
A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. immigration inspector, provides you a small white card, Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record in your passport. For information on how to fill out the I-94 Form, please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) webpage (http://www.cbp.gov/.)
Visa Waiver Program travelers receive Form 1-94W. On this form, the U.S. immigration inspector records either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). If your I-94 contains a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the United States. Your Form I-94, or I-94W is a very important document to keep in your passport, since it shows your permission to be in the United States. For more information please visit the CBP webpage “Admission into United States (http://cbp.gov/).” Also, visit the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage “What the Visa Expiration Date Means (http://travel.state.gov/).”
Q: I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States, what should I do?
If you failed to turn in your I-94 Departure Records, please visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) webpage (https://help.cbp.gov/) or visit our webpage “I-94 & I-94W Arrival/Departure Cards.”
Q: My passport with my visa was stolen, what should I do?
If your passport with your I-94 are lost or stolen, you must get them replaced immediately. If the visa was expired you must still report it lost or stolen. There are a number of steps you need to take. To learn more, please visit the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs webpage “Lost and Stolen Passports, Visas, and Form I-94s (http://travel.state.gov/).
Q: I would like to know if my friend/relative/coworker/business associate has applied for a visa and what the status is. Who should I contact?
Under U.S. law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 222(f), visa records are confidential. Therefore, the visa applicant should inquire at the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad where he or she applied regarding necessary information about visa application status. Because of confidentiality of visa records, you’ll need to ask the visa applicant your questions about whether a visa application was made, or a visa was issued or denied.
Q: Where can I find more information about how to complete the DS-160?
Please review a complete set of DS-160 FAQ’s on our webpage “DS-160 Frequently Asked Questions.”
Q: I want to invite a relative/friend in the United States, what should I do?
For information about inviting someone to the United States, please visit our webpage “Invitation Letters and Affidavits of Support.”
For immediate answers to many visa and petition related questions, please review the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs “Visas webpage (http://travel.state.gov/).” If your question is not addressed in these Frequently Asked Questions, please send us an email at TiranaUSConsulate@state.gov. We respond to hundreds of e-mails daily. It is very helpful to us when these e-mails include specific information in the subject line about the nature of the issue. It will require about ten business days for our staff to review and respond to your message and we will only respond to inquiries if the information was not available on this webpage. If your question is about something already addressed in the above FAQ and no additional information is available, you will not receive a personalized response. Thank you.