Scheduling an Interview
**1/9/19: Consular visa issuance by the U.S. Department of State, while continuing during the U.S. government shutdown, may become subject to delay as the funding lapse continues, so petitioners and artists should be sure to build in extra time, especially in light of the previous Executive Order revocation by the Trump administration that already increased wait times at consulates. Consular officers were reportedly instructed last year to take more time with vetting of visa applicants across all classifications, so it is vital to leave more time than usual for the consular process.
In most cases, an in-person interview is required. As soon as USCIS approves the petition, the artist should contact the consulate to schedule an interview appointment. Wait times can vary, and security issues can cause delays.
The U.S. Department of State is now posting online approximate wait times for consular visa processing. The Visa Wait Times Site provides average wait times for appointments and predicts the amount of time it will take each consulate to issue a visa. The wait times for artists are found under the description "all other nonimmigrant visas." Please note: Wait times represent averages and do not take into consideration the time it takes to return the passport to the artist, which varies but is typically within a week of the interview. Note that consulates will not generally issue a visa more than 90 days in advance of the validity period.
In some cases, applicants may be eligible to mail in the application materials. In order to qualify for the mail-in process, the applicant must be applying in his or her home country, must be applying for the same visa type, the previous visa is either still valid or expired within 12 months and the applicant must have been fingerprinted at the previous interview. In addition, if the applicant has an arrest or conviction, a previous visa denial, was denied entry to the U.S. or answers yes to any of the security-related questions on the DS-160, s/he is not eligible for the mail-in program (see our Preparation for the DS-160 document to preview the questions). If the mail-in program is available, then the applicant should expect to wait at least 2 to 3 weeks to receive the passport back and, in some cases, the post may still require the applicant to appear in person.