The US visa application process from Dubai is often considered daunting, mainly because a lot of people don’t know where to start from and how to proceed. In reality however, this is not the case. Once you know the step by step process, you’ll realise that it’s actually quite simple to apply for a US visa from Dubai.
Disclaimer: Due to the ongoing situation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, both the US and the UAE have implemented travel restrictions that may lead to delays in visa procedures.
WHO NEEDS TO APPLY FOR A USA VISA FROM DUBAI?
All UAE passport holders and residents, except those with passports from countries on the US Visa Waiver Program, must apply for a US visa from Dubai to be allowed entry into the United States of America. As a UAE citizen or resident, you need a US visa whether you are travelling to the country for immigration or non-immigration purposes.
COUNTRIES INCLUDED IN THE US VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
If you are a resident of Dubai, but a citizen of one of the following countries – you may visit the US on the basis of an Electronic Travel Authorization. Countries on the US Visa Waiver Program include:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
WHAT TYPE OF USA VISA DO YOU NEED?
There are two main categories of USA visas that you can apply for from Dubai.
- USA nonimmigrant visas
- USA immigrant visas
Each of these categories have further subcategories that align with various types of applicants and their purpose for travelling. It is important to know what visa you’re applying for, because your visa application process from Dubai depends on that.
In this post, we are dealing with the non-immigrant visas or the USA visit visas from Dubai. This particular visa type has two major subcategories:
- The US business visa or the B1 Visa
- The US tourist visa or the B2 Visa
The US Business Visa from Dubai is for those of you who wish to visit the USA for business purposes. The US Tourist Visa from Dubai is for general travel purposes. Once approved, the US visit visa from Dubai allows you to enter and stay in the US for designated periods of time, which is subject to a variety of factors.
THE USA VISA APPLICATION PROCESS FROM DUBAI
Here is a step-by-step process to apply for USA visa from Dubai.
STEP 1: FILE YOUR US VISA APPLICATION FROM DUBAI
Anyone who wishes to apply for a US tourist visa or a US business visa (categories B1 and B2), must first complete the online DS-160 application form. Here’s how you can do that.
- Visit the Consular Electronic Application Center
- Select your location
- Enter the Captcha code
- Start your online application for US visa from Dubai
- Complete the DS-160 application form
- Print the DS-160 barcode page and keep it
- Even though Arabic translation is available for most pages of the form, the online application for US visa from Dubai should be completed in English.
- All fields are mandatory, except the ones specified as “optional” or “does not apply.” Make sure you fill all the fields.
- The DS-160 application automatically times out after 20 minutes of staying idle. You risk losing any unsaved data on the application when it times out. So save your information after regular intervals.
- Always save your online application for US visa from Dubai before submitting it.
STEP 2: PAY THE US VISA FEES FROM DUBAI
The next step in the USA visa application process is to pay the fee and schedule your US visa appointment from Dubai. The US visit visa fee is currently USD 160, which approximately amounts to AED 590. Please keep in mind that this AED amount is subject to change.
To pay your USA visa fee from Dubai, here’s what you need to do:
- Visit the US Department of State Visa Appointment Service website
- Create your user account
- Input your DS-160 application confirmation number
- Enter details for your courier document return process
- Pay your non-refundable, nonimmigrant (MRV) USA visa application fee
- Schedule your Consular Section appointment for interview
Make sure you don’t forget to schedule your US visa appointment from Dubai, because the embassy will not do it for you. If you’re applying via a travel agent in Dubai, they may charge you a service fee in addition to the official USA visa fee of USD 160 (AED 590).
STEP 3: GATHER THE DOCUMENTS
To complete your USA visa application in Dubai, you need to put together a set of essential documents that help the consulate/embassy staff to evaluate your case. It is imperative that you submit them just as they are required to ensure a hassle free process. Here is the standard set of documents required to apply for a US visa from Dubai.
- The confirmation page of DS-160 form completion
- Your passport with at least one (1) blank page (must be valid for more than 6 months from your intended date of travel)
- Previous USA visas (if any)
- Receipt of US visa application fee paid
- A recent (taken within the past 6 months) US Visa photograph. You don’t need one if you’ve already attached a photograph in the DS-160 form.
- A police certificate. You can easily obtain a police clearance certificate in the UAE via the Ministry of Interior (MOI) website and app.
- Confirmation of USA visa appointment
- In addition to these, you also need documents showing any previous entry rejections or deportations from the USA that you may have faced.
Anyone applying for a US tourist visa in Dubai needs to submit the following additional documents to support their application.
- A cover letter that details the purpose of your visit
- Banks statements as proof of having enough funds to finance your stay in the US
- US visa invitation letter (optional) from family or friends in the US
- Diploma or transcripts (in case you’re a student)
- Copies of relative’s and/or friend’s status in the US (in case you’re visiting friends/family)
- Medical report (in case you’re travelling for medical treatment)
You also need to provide proof of having strong ties with your home country (in this case, Dubai). You can prove this with the following documents:
- Proof of family (dependents)
- A property lease or deed
- A valid job contract
- Anything that supports the notion that you will return back once your trip ends
People who have an active job must also have the following documents for USA visa application in Dubai
- Letter of employment
- Three months’ pay slips
STEP 4: TAKE THE INTERVIEW
The last step of the US visa application process in Dubai is to attend the interview. This interview is compulsory for all visa applicants aged 14 to 79 years old. This is the most important step of the entire process, so make sure you don’t take it casually. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Make sure you’re on time. Your US visa appointment from Dubai will be cancelled in case you’re late.
- Take all your application documents with you, the consulate staff will examine it.
- Answer all interview questions honestly and in compliance with the information on your documents.
While you wait for your interview, the consulate staff will take your biometrics. You must have the complete set of required documents to improve your chances of getting a US Visa. What’s most important is that you’re confident and truthfully answer all questions regarding your intended trip.
WHERE TO APPLY FOR US VISA IN DUBAI?
All US visa applications from Dubai are processed either at the US Consulate General in Dubai or the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi. You can locate the US missions in the UAE on the following addresses:
US EMBASSY, ABU DHABI
- Location: Plot No. 38, Sector W-59-02, Embassies District – Abu Dhabi
- Timings: 08:00 am to 05:00 pm | Closed on weekends
- Contact: +971-2-414-2200
US CONSULATE GENERAL, DUBAI
- Location: Umm Hurrair One, Al Seef Street, Bur Dubai – Dubai
- Timings: 08:00 am to 05:00 pm | Closed on weekends
- Contact: +971-4-309-4000
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS US VISA APPLICATION IN DUBAI?
The US visa processing time in Dubai can take up to 78 calendar days (11 weeks). The processing time usually depends on the number of visa applications the US Embassy receives at the same time as yours. However, it takes at least a month to complete the process.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR US VISA IS DENIED?
In case your US visa application from Dubai is denied, you can always apply again. Keep in mind that you have to pay the US visa fee every time you file an application for it. The best way to ensure that your US visa is not denied is by producing all the required documentation and filling the form correctly.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR MY USA VISA FROM DUBAI?
Ideally, you should apply for your US tourist visa from Dubai at least four (4) months prior to your tentative date of travel. You may get the visa sooner, but it’s always better to plan well ahead, given the varying length of visa processing time.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO MAKE A USA VISA APPOINTMENT FROM DUBAI WHILE LIVING IN ABU DHABI?
Yes, all residents and citizens of the UAE can apply to any of the two US missions in the country.
DOES PURCHASING A RETURN TICKET FOR THE TRIP GUARANTEE A VISA APPROVAL?
No, it does not. While having a return ticket does count as compelling evidence to prove your intention to return to the UAE, it does not guarantee a visa. The US Consulate in Dubai strongly advises against the purchase of non-refundable air tickets unless the visa is stamped on your passport.
HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY PASSPORT ONCE IT’S STAMPED FOR VISA?
Once your visa is stamped, it will be delivered to you via a courier service in Dubai. It may take around three (3) working days after the interview for your visa stamped passport to be delivered. US visa applicants in Dubai must not, in any case, visit the US Consulate to personally pick up their passport. All passport pickups in person are dealt via Emirates Post.
That’s all we have for you now. We hope this information helps you get started on your USA visa application from Dubai.
Please note that this process only details the specifics of a US tourist visa application and its process. The process for an immigration visa is different and far more complex. Thankfully, there are companies offering immigration services in Dubai to help you get through the process with greater ease.
For those who’d prefer to travel to Europe instead of the USA, make sure you are aware of the new fees and process of Schengen visa application from Dubai. For any of the other countries, here’s a list of foreign missions in Dubai that you can approach for your intended travels.
Stay tuned to MyBayut for more.