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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


Where can I find the application for a U.S. visa?

The form is available on the internet and can be accessed and filled out at the following web address:

What is the cost of a Non-Immigrant visa?

For information about schedule fee changes effective on April 13, 2012 please visit the following website:

For information about fees paid on or before April 12, 2012 please visit the following website:

Important Notice: After paying a Non-Immigrant visa application fee, you must wait to schedule your appointment. You can schedule your interview the following business day after making payment at Citibank. If you make payment on a Saturday, schedule your interview anytime after 7 a.m. the following Tuesday.

 How do I apply for a student or exchange visa?

Once you have been accepted by the school or program you wish to attend - and have received your I-20 or DS 2019 - pay your SEVIS fee at Then follow the steps for setting up a visa appointment as indicated above and on our Non-Immigrant Visa page.  On the date of your interview, in addition to the normal forms and supporting documentation that is needed for all interviews, you will need to bring your SEVIS receipt and your I-20 or DS 2019. 

What is the SEVIS fee?

This is a variable fee for registering students in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System that must be paid prior to an applicant’s interview. 

How can I pay the SEVIS fee paid?

The SEVIS fee can be paid online at or through any Western Union office.

What is the procedure for seeking a visa for medical treatment in the United States?

In addition to following the normal visa process mentioned above, the applicant must bring with them the following items.  (Please note: this does not guarantee approval/issuance of a non-immigrant visa)

  1. A professional diagnosis of the illness and evidence that it cannot be treated in El Salvador;
  2. Official letter from U.S. hospital and doctors, accepting patient for treatment and providing estimated cost and length of medical treatment;
  3. Evidence regarding ability to pay for the treatment; and
  4. Proof of social, economic, and professional ties in El Salvador that will compel the applicant to return to his home country following the completion of his medical treatment.

What are the requirements for the presence of parents for minors during a visa interview?

ALL Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by both biological parents at the interview for their child's visa. The only exceptions would be death, divorce, a birth certificate showing father unknown, or legal custody due to other circumstances (e.g. adoption). In each exception, a legal document would be required to show cause for the other parent's absence. In the case of remarriage, the child's mother/father must appear with the current spouse (i.e. child's stepparent). Parents are required to show original birth certificates for all minor children.

Why didn’t the officer look at my documents during my interview?  How can he determine my ties to my country of residence?

Each applicant is given the opportunity to present his information using the DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa application which details their personal information. The information on this form is critical, because the form contains an oath and signature box attesting to the truth of the information contained within. The Officer asks questions based on the information presented in the application. Officers generally ask for documents only when it is necessary to clarify or corroborate information provided by the applicant on the application form or in the interview.  Consular Officers base their decisions primarily on the interview with the applicant and the information attested to on the application form and do not normally consider outside documentation.

What do I do if my passport with my US visa is lost or stolen?

All persons whose passport containing a valid U.S. visa has been lost or stolen, and who wish to obtain a replacement visa must appear for a personal interview. Please bring a copy of the police report, migration report (Movimiento Migratorio) from the Salvadoran immigration office noting your exits from and entries into El Salvador, and other documentation as available. Lost visas should be immediately reported to the visa section by email at, please include a scanned copy of the police report.  Lost or stolen visas are not “replaced,” therefore a new visa application must be made, including paying the application and scheduling an interview appointment.

How do I make an appointment?

To schedule an interview appointment, please follow the instructions below:

Begining April 3, 2012 visa applicants can register at and schedule Immigrant and Non-Immigrant visa appointments free of charge. They also may schedule an appointment by calling 2113-3122 at no additional charge. Visa applicants do not need a calling card to access the service.

When you call the regional Call Center, the customer service representative will request information such as the applicant’s passport number and name as it appears in his passport.

What documents do I need to bring for my interview?

Documents should include, but are not limited to the following; job letters, birth and marriage certificates, other family members' passports containing U.S. visas, bank documents, tax documents (Declaración de Renta y de IVA) and titles to property such as cars or houses.  Please note: the presence of documentation does not guarantee visa issuance. 

How do I apply for a visa for emergency travel?

If you have urgent need to travel for an emergency (such as life and death medical treatment or death of immediate family member), if you are a business traveler in need of an expedited appointment, or if you are applying for a student (F-1, M-1) or (J-1) exchange visitor visa and you have to travel before the next available interview appointment to begin class, please call the regional Call Center at 2113-3122 and explain the nature of the emergency. All applicants should note that they will still need to prove that they qualify under U.S. law to receive a visa. *Remember only genuine emergencies qualify for a special appointment.

I didn’t make it to my scheduled interview appointment, how can I reschedule?

Please reschedule your appointment by calling the regional Call Center at 2113-3122. When you call, please give the customer service representative your original appointment information, and ask to reschedule your appointment. You do not have to pay the application fee a second time for a rescheduled appointment.

How can I schedule an appointment for someone from the United States?

Callers in the United States may call (703) 745-5476. Long distance charges may apply.

My application was refused, when can I apply again?

Once an application is refused under section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Embassy does not encourage an applicant to reapply for the same visa classification unless the applicant’s circumstances have changed significantly. If an applicant chooses to reapply, the applicant may do so at any time by scheduling a new appointment and paying the visa application fee.

I was told to bring in more documents in order to qualify for a visa; how do I do that?

Follow the instructions on the information sheet given to you by the Consul at the time of your interview. You should gather the required documents and any other paperwork you might need, and bring them  along with your valid passport and the letter given to you by the Consul to the Consular Section Entrance on Boulevard Santa Elena Final on any Wednesday before 10am for another interview. 

I have a valid visa, but my passport is expired.  Do I need a new visa?

If you have a valid U.S. visa, you may travel with that visa in your old passport, but will still need to present a valid passport from your country of citizenship; this means you will need to travel with two passports. 

My visa has expired, how do I apply for a new one?

Please follow the regular steps for applying for a visa and be sure to bring in all your previous passports on the day of your interview.  Please note that having a prior U.S. visa does not automatically qualify you for a new one. 

Do i need to update my visa if my name has changed due to a change of legal/marital status?

If an NIV applicant has recently changed his or her legal name and it's not reflected on the visa, the applicant will need to travel with any legal documents supporting the name change in case such documents are required by the immigration official at the port of entry. The applicant may also choose to renew their visa with their new name/passport - this can be done anytime, including before the visa has expired (note that the visa fee must be paid again).

Do I have to wait until my visa expires to apply for a new one?

No, you may apply for a new visa up to six months before your current visa expires by following the same procedures as listed above.

  Where can I find the DS-160?



Can my answers be in my native language?

No.  All application questions must be answered in English, using English characters only.  Applications that are submitted in any language other than English may be rejected, and you may be required to submit a new application.

Are all of the fields on the DS-160 mandatory?

All fields on the DS-160 are mandatory. Some fields may give you the option to select “does not apply.”  If a question does not apply to you, you may mark the corresponding box “does not apply.”  All other fields must be completed. The application will not allow you to submit a form with any mandatory fields left blank.  In this instance, an error message will be displayed and you will be required to answer the question before continuing with the application.  If you do not answer questions that apply to you, your form may also be rejected.

What happens if I need to step away in the middle of data entry?

The DS-160 will “time-out” approximately 20 minutes after the application has been idle.  The “time out” is designed to protect your privacy.  If the application does time out, all the data that has been entered will be lost.  In order to guard against possible loss of data, you should save the application at regular intervals while you are completing the application.  To save the application, click the “save” button at the bottom center of the application, and this will temporarily save your application.  In order to permanently save your application, select the “save application to file” button.  Then, click the “save” button on the file download window.  Identify a place on your computer to save the application file, browse to that location, and click the “save” button on the save as window. The system will download your application to the specified location. Once the download is complete you can click “close” to return to the application.  You can then use the “Upload a Previous Application” option on the “getting started” page to upload the data that you have already entered.

The confirmation page has an “X’ in the box where the photo should be. What does that mean?

This indicates that no photo has been uploaded to the application, but this is not a problem, as all photos for applications in San Salvador will be captured the day of your interview by the Consular staff. Please remember that the U.S. Embassy requires that all applicants for non immigrant visas bring a photo measuring 5 cm x 5 cm, with a white background along with their DS-160 confirmation sheet. For more information regarding photo requirements, please visit our web site. 

Why did the edits I made from the review page “edit” link not save?

In order for the data changes made from the review page links to save, you must use the buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate, instead of the browser’s back/forward buttons or the buttons along the left of the screen.

Should I save my application before I submit it?

YES.  You should save your application (to either your hard drive or a CD) before you submit your application.  Saving your application is beneficial in two ways; first, if your application is rejected by the Consulate or Embassy for being incomplete, i.e., your application contains nonresponsive answers or you failed to answer a critical question, you will be able to access your saved application data, correct the nonresponsive or incomplete answers and submit the corrected application without having to complete an entirely new application. Second, if you are a frequent visa applicant, you can update your saved application the next time you wish to apply for a visa and submit the updated application. This will save you time by not having to re-enter information that has not changed since the last time you applied.

Should I bring my entire application with me to the interview, or just the confirmation page?

Your confirmation page is all that is needed to retrieve your application data, and you do not need to bring your entire application. You must have the confirmation page with you during all phases of the application process. Without the confirmation page, it may not be possible to access your application and process your visa case.

I am travelling with my family or as a part of a group. Can I create a family or group application?

Yes, on the “thank you” page you will see an option to create a family or group application.  When you select this option, certain information from your application, such as the destination, will automatically be imported to and displayed on a new application.  Please note that when you use this option you will still need to create an individual application for each of the members of your family or group who will be travelling with you.

If I use the option on the “thank you” page to create a family or group application, can I modify the data automatically populated by the system?

Yes, if one of the members of the group has a different surname or nationally, for example, the applicant can change the information on the application before submission.