Ask the US Consul

Been refused a visa to visit the US? Or would you like to go but don’t know the procedure? This column conducted by the US Embassy seeks to answer questions that applicants may have with regard to American visas. Please send your queries to ‘Ask the US Consul’, c/o The Sunday Times, No. 8, Hunupitiya Cross Road, Colombo 2 or email: The answers to your questions are published on the first Sunday of every month.

This month’s questions focus on Non-Immigrant Visas, also known as “visitor visas”. This category includes tourists, students and short term business visitors. For more information about all types of U.S. visas, visit

Dear Consul,

My brother and his family qualified to migrate on immigrant visas to the U.S. in 2007. When the visas were issued, the eldest boy was not qualified since he was over the age cutoff, so he stayed behind in Sri Lanka.

Now the boy (my nephew) would like to visit his parents for their wedding anniversary. Can he apply for a visitor visa?

T. C.

Dear T.C.,

Your nephew is welcome to apply for a visitor visa to the U.S. Like all visitor visa applicants, he must clearly establish to the interviewing officer that he intends to return to Sri Lanka at the completion of his visit. He should come to the interview prepared to demonstrate his strong ties to Sri Lanka.


* * *
Dear Consul,

My wife and I were issued a 5 year multiple entry visitor visas to the U.S. in 2008. We had a very pleasant one month stay in 2008 and would like to go again in the future. However, our Sri Lankan passports are expiring soon, so we need to get new ones. Can the visa be transferred to the new passport?


Dear J.F.,

If the visa in your expired passport is still valid, it does not need to be replaced. You should carry both your expired Sri Lankan passport (with the U.S. visa) and your new passport with you when you travel. Have a pleasant trip!


* * *
Dear Consul,

A friend of mine will be visiting the U.S. for a conference this summer. He has already qualified for a visa. My friend would like me to join him on the trip just to see the country. He guarantees to look after my expenses. Can I join him on the visit?


Dear M.Y.S.,

Each person must qualify on his or her own merits for a U.S. visa. While it may be useful to present information about your sponsor or travel companion to explain the circumstances of your visit, it is you alone who must demonstrate that you qualify for the visa.


* * *
Dear Consul,

When I pass by the Embassy, I see people going in for visitor visa interviews. Do I need an appointment in order to have an interview, or can I simply show up at the gate?


Dear H.S.,

In order to apply for a visitor visa to the United States, you must schedule an appointment through TT Services, the Embassy’s scheduling agent. The website for TTS is: You may schedule an appointment by fax, email, mail/courier, online or in person at the TTS office.

On the day of your interview, you must bring with you the completed application with photo, current passport, bank draft, and any supporting documentation.


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