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Visa FAQs

This guide answers some of the most frequently asked questions about U.S. Visas. If you have other questions not answered here, you may contact the Consular Section by clicking here.

1. Do I need a visa to travel the U.S.?

With some exceptions, the citizens of foreign countries need visas to enter the U.S. Exceptions include most Canadian citizens and travelers from Visa Waiver Program countries who are travelling for a short tourist visit. Students, temporary workers, and others will need a visa even if they are from a Visa Waiver Program country.

2. My passport falls under the Visa Waiver Program. Do I need a visa to travel?

Travelers from countries belonging to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) do not require a visa but require a travel authorization for business or tourism of less than 90 days duration. Please visit the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website to obtain an authorization. Your passport must be a machine readable passport (MRP) and conform to our requirements. This website lists the MRP requirements according to the year the passport was issued. If the passport does not meet the requirements listed on the website, but the traveler is from a Visa Waiver Program country, then the traveler will have two options:

  • Apply for a U.S. visa or
  • Obtain a new passport at the appropriate consulate or embassy.

3. I am transiting through the U.S. Will I need a visa?

The Transit without Visa (TWOV) Program has been suspended until further notice. All foreigners transiting the U.S. are required by law to have a visa or travel authorization for Visa Waiver Program Countries.

  • Transit only - travelers must present the Transit Visa (C1)
  • Transit and Visiting/ Business - travelers must present a Tourist/ Business visa (B1/B2)
  • Travelers who already have a B1/B2 Visa may transit the United States without a C1 Visa.

4. I do not live in Qatar. Can I apply for a Visa?

It is highly recommended that applicants apply in their home district, country of residence, or at an embassy designated for their application. Applicants not residing in Qatar may apply for visas at our Embassy; however, they should be aware this may make it more difficult to demonstrate their qualifications for a visa.

5. I am not Qatari. Can I apply for a visa in Qatar or do I need to apply in my home country?

All nationalities residing in Qatar may apply for a visa.

6. I will be traveling to the U.S. for vacation, but I will also visit neighboring countries. Can I renter the U.S. on the same visa?

Applicants that have obtained a multiple entry tourist visa may use it to re-enter the U.S. after a short visit to a neighboring country.

7. My passport is going to expire. Do I need to renew my passport before I apply for a visa?

Your passport must have a minimum of six months validity in order to receive a visa.

8. My family is applying for a visa. Can I bring my children?

Children 13 years-old and under do not need to attend a visa interview. Parents are kindly asked to bring only the family members 14 years of age and above.

9. My children are in my passport. Do I need to prepare a separate visa application for them?

A parent sharing the same passport with his/her children must present separate visa application forms, Commercial Bank receipts, and photos for each person. If approved, each person will be issued an individual visa. Please ensure there are enough blank pages in your passport before making your application.

10. How do I schedule, reschedule, or cancel an appointment?

Please click here.

11. Do I need to appear for an interview?

Every applicant applying for a visa will need to appear for an interview. Exceptions are children 13 years-old and under and adults over age 80.

12. I did not print my appointment confirmation number or my CEAC confirmation sheet (DS-160). Do I need them to enter the embassy?

At this time, a printed appointment confirmation number and CEAC confirmation sheet should be presented for applicants to enter the U.S. Embassy on the day of their scheduled interview . However, since the U.S. Embassy does not have the ability to retrieve confirmation numbers for confirmed appointments you may appear on the day of your scheduled interview. The consular staff at the front gate will confirm your entry for the scheduled interview date.  The CEAC application must be properly loaded into our system to retreive.  If your appointment was not properly scheduled and / or your application was not properly loaded, you will be asked to schedule a new appointment to return.  It is the responsibility of the applicant ensure the requirements are correct and ready to be presented.  

13. I am applying for a family, can i complete only one application for the entire family?

We do not have family applicaitons.  A family applying for visas to the United States need to present a seperate application for each family member. If approved, each person receives a visa. 

14. I need to travel to the U.S. urgently. How can I get an immediate appointment?

Check the interview schedule for any cancelations. When a day comes available, please reschedule your appointment accordingly.

15. Where can I pay the application fee?

The application fee can be paid at any branch of the Commercial Bank in Doha, Qatar. Present your original passport to the bank teller and say you are applying for a visa to the U.S.

16. What is a SEVIS fee and where can I pay it?

If you are planning to study in the U.S. under the F, J, or M visa categories, you must pay an initial fee to register with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). This fee is in addition to your MRV application fee.

Please visit the following websites to:

For I-901 Fee Assistance, send your email to or call I-901 Customer Service hotline at (212) 620-3418.

17. How long is the Commercial Bank receipt valid?

The Commercial Bank receipt is valid for one year.

18. My family is applying for visas. Do we pay one fee for the family?

No. Each family member must have a separate receipt.

19. If I decide to not travel to the U.S. after I have paid the MRV fee, may I receive a refund?

No. The application fee is non-refundable and non-transferrable.

20. How do I transfer my visa to my new passport?

We do not transfer visas. A valid visa can still be used in an expired passport, as long as you present both old and new passports at the time you arrive in the U.S. The other option is to apply for a new visa for your new passport. If this is what you prefer, please visit our website for our application procedures.

21. Do I need to extend my passport if I'm traveling to the U.S. for a short stay?

Applicants must have a minimum of six months validity when they apply for a visa and when they travel to the U.S.

22. I forgot to turn in my 1-94 cards when I left the U.S. What can I do?

If you returned home with your Department of Homeland Security Form I-94 (white) or Form I-94W (green) Departure Record in your passport, it means that your departure was not recorded properly. It is your responsibility to correct this record. You must provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sufficient information to record your timely departure. This will close out your earlier record of arrival to the U.S.

If you failed to turn in your I-94 Departure Record, please send it, along with any documentation that proves you left the U.S., to:

ACS CBP SBU - 1084 South Laurel Road - London, KY 40744

To validate departure, CBP will consider a variety of information, please visit the following website for more information:

23. I had my interview and I was told that additional processing is required. Where do I find the status of my application online?

Please visit: Status of Visa Application

24. My case has been pending a long time. Can I apply again?

Applicants should wait until the application process has been completed.

25. I had my interview today, but my barcode number is not online?

Status of Applications is updated when your case has cleared.

26. I was refused under Section 214(b), what is that?

Every applicant must qualify under Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) of 1952, as amended, which contains a presumption, that nonimmigrant visa applicants are actually intending immigrants. They are ineligible to obtain nonimmigrant visas unless they can prove they have a permanent residence abroad which they have no intention of abandoning. This is normally established by demonstrating family, social, and employment, economic or other ties in another country, which will compel them to return there after a temporary stay in the U.S..

27. If I was refused the visa may I apply again and, if so, when?

Ineligibility under section 214(b) is not permanent and may be overcome in future visa applications. We suggest waiting until your circumstances have changed significantly before applying for a nonimmigrant visa in the future.

28. What are strong ties?

Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, and other capital assets. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.

29. Where can I report visa fraud?

If you have information regarding visa abuse and visa fraud, please let us know by sending us an email to