1) What is a reference number and how do I use it?
A reference number is a unique number that is generated when you create a profile. It will be displayed in a yellow box on the left side of the screen after creating your profile. You should write this reference number down immediately. If you cannot remember your reference number, please do not create a new profile. You can contact our Visa Information Center, and our agents will be able to retrieve your reference number. Whenever you return to the website, this reference number will allow you to access the profile you created, and you will not need to re-enter your personal information. It is especially important if you are booking an appointment, because without this reference number you will not be able to view your appointment details or your confirmation letter.
2) How do I access my confirmation letter?
You can access your confirmation letter at any time by logging into http://www.nvars. com/ with your passport number and the reference number that was generated for your profile. Press ‘Submit’ to get past your personal information screen (and the dependents screen if applicable), and you will arrive at a screen displaying your appointment details. Press the button marked ‘View Confirmation Package’. This will take you to a screen that provides the link to access your confirmation letter, as well as links to other documentation that you may require. Please ensure that you print a new appointment confirmation letter if any details on your personal profile are modified or updated, i.e. adding dependents.
3) Is the confirmation letter available in French?
The confirmation letter is available in French for the Montreal and Quebec City Consulates. In order to access a French confirmation letter, please make sure French is selected for the “Preferred Language” field on the “Personal Profile” screen. You can update this at any time by logging in using your passport number and reference number.
4) What does the “New/Renewal” field on the Personal Profile page mean? What option do I choose?
For most visa types, you should leave this field set to the default value of “New”. For employment related visas (“H”, “L”, “O”, “P”, “Q”, and “R”), you should choose “Renewal” only if you have already received a visa, and are continuing employment with the same employer. If you are applying for a visa for the first time, or are applying for a visa with a new employer, you must select “New”.
5) How do I tell if there are available appointments?
It is very simple to tell if there are available appointments on the calendar. If there are no appointments available, you will see a message at the top of the calendar that says "There are currently no appointments available" for the consulate you have selected. If there are any appointments available for that consulate, this message will not be there. Available appointments will be visible on the calendar as a link on the available date that says “Available”. Clicking this link will then allow you to book an appointment time. If you do not see any links like this, it means there are no appointments available. You should continue to check back for available appointments.
6) Why are there no available appointments showing in the Consulate calendars? Is there a technical problem with the website?
This is not caused by a problem with the website. Appointments are in high demand, and are usually booked very quickly once they become available. New appointments are added to the website randomly between the hours of 7am and 10pm Eastern time, so we recommend that you check the website as often as possible to increase your chances of finding an appointment.
7) Why can’t I find available appointments even if I scroll the calendar forward several months?
You are not able to find available appointments this far in the future, because the consulates do not allow you to schedule that far in advance. Each consulate only allows appointment bookings a specified number of weeks in advance. Here is a listing of the maximum time in advance that you can book an appointment for each consulate:
Montreal 6 weeks in advance Ottawa 6 weeks in advance Calgary 8 weeks in advance Toronto 6 weeks in advance Quebec City 3 weeks in advance Halifax 6 weeks in advance Vancouver 8 weeks in advance
This means that if you wish to schedule an appointment in Ottawa for example, you can only schedule an appointment within the next 6 weeks. If there are no appointments showing up within the next 6 weeks, that means those appointments have all been booked. If you wish to book an appointment in Ottawa for a date that is further than 6 weeks away, you will need to wait until you are within 6 weeks of that date.
IMPORTANT: Appointments are in high demand, and it may take some time before you are able to obtain an appointment date. It is an applicant's responsibility to plan ahead, as the consulates do not have an unlimited number of appointments available. We recommend that you begin trying to obtain an appointment approximately 6 to 8 weeks in advance of your desired travel date.
8) How can I obtain and complete the required application forms? (DS-156, DS-157, DS-158)
Effective November 1, 2006: ALL visa applicants are now required to complete the DS- 156 application form online. Hand-written forms will no longer be accepted. If you appear for your interview with a hand-written application after November 1st, 2006, you will be turned away and assigned another date for your interview. You MUST complete the electronic form on-line (all 3 pages) at http://evisaforms.state.gov/. Print out the entire form, including the third (barcode) page, and bring it with you to the interview. The additional required application forms can be downloaded from http://www.amcits. com/.
9) What do I need to bring to my interview?
The following items are prohibited entry due to strict security screening: electronic items, e.g. cell phones, recording devices, dangerous or bulky items and food/liquids. There are no storage facilities for prohibited items so leave them at home or in your vehicle.
Documents needed in support of your desired visa application are listed on your confirmation letter. You may also review the required documents at http://www.amcits. com/. Please remember that a consular officer will not make a decision based on your documents alone, but on your situation as a whole. Bringing any particular document does not guarantee visa eligibility.
10) What fees do I need to pay?
For all non-immigrant visas there is a non refundable U.S. $131.00 visa application fee. Effective January 1, 2008, the application fee for a US non-immigrant visa was increased from US $100 to US $131. Applicants who paid the prior US$100 application fee before January 1 will be processed only if they are scheduled and appear for a visa interview in the month of January. Applicants who paid the prior US$100 application fee and appear for visa interviews after January 31, 2008 must pay the difference - US$31 - before they will be interviewed.
Applicants of certain nationalities may also be subject to a reciprocity fee, which is paid at the Consulate or Embassy only if the visa is issued.
11) Is it possible to schedule an earlier appointment?
We regret that we are unable to provide earlier appointments than what is currently available on the reservation calendar. Cancellations are made available as they occur on the calendar, so there is a chance that you may find a sooner appointment by checking the website as often as possible for cancellations. If you already have an appointment, and want to search our calendar for a sooner appointment, you can use our Reschedule option. This will allow you to check the calendar for a sooner date, but you will not lose your current booking unless you successfully book a new appointment. To use the Reschedule feature, log into the website using your passport number and reference number. On the Appointment Details page, you will see a “Reschedule Appointment” button. Pressing this button will allow you to view the calendar without cancelling your current booking.
If there is an urgent need to travel, contact the Visa Information Center for details on how to request an emergency visa appointment.
12) How do I cancel my appointment?
You may choose to cancel your appointment at www.nvars.com or by calling 1-888-611- 6676. To cancel your appointment through the website, please log into http://www. nvars.com/ with your passport number and the reference number that was generated for your profile. Press ‘Submit’ to get past your personal information screen (and the dependents screen if applicable), and you will arrive at a screen displaying your appointment details. Press the ‘Cancel Appointment’ button to cancel your appointment.
13) Will I be refunded if I choose to cancel my appointment?
We regret that a refund will not be provided. Our online booking service is designed to charge CA$8.55 for each new appointment confirmed.
14) I already have an appointment confirmed. How can I add my dependent’s information to my file?
A dependent can be added to your profile by logging into http://www.nvars.com/ with your passport number and reference number. This will allow the dependent to attend the appointment with you. To add a dependent, increase the “Number of Dependents” field on the Personal Information screen, and then add the dependent information on the next screen. You may also feel free to contact the Visa Information Center to update any information on your file. Please be advised that after adding dependents to your appointment, you should print a new copy of your confirmation letter, with the correct number of dependents listed.
15) Are my dependents required to attend my appointment with me?
If your dependents are intending to apply for a U.S. visa, then they should accompany you to the interview. In general, all applicants, including infants and children, must appear in person for the visa interview. In addition to an interview, the consular officer will digitally capture the fingerprints of applicants ages 14-79. In the case of applicants under 14 years, a parent or guardian must appear in person to accompany the child.
16) What do I do if a storm or flight cancellation causes me to miss my appointment?
If an applicant is unable to make their visa appointment due to flight cancellations or other weather-related problems, there is no need to reschedule the appointment. Just appear at the Consulate, where your original interview was scheduled, on the next visa processing day or as soon as new travel arrangements can be made. The applicant should be prepared to explain and verify the reason for the delay. It will be up to that Consulate how and when to handle your missed appointment.
Exception: For MONTREAL ONLY, you are not able to attend on the next processing day. Please contact the Visa Information Center for further instructions.
17) How long will it take for my visa to be processed?
At present most U.S. Consulates in Canada try to return approved visas within 2 to 3 business days following the interview.
All applications undergo a comprehensive name and biometric clearance process, which can result in delays. You should be prepared to be inside the Consulate for two hours or more. In addition, certain applicants, based on origin, nationality, travel patterns, purpose of travel or background may undergo lengthy screening, which can take weeks or months, and over which the Consulate has no control. U.S. law places the burden of qualifying for a visa solely on the applicant. Applicants coming from the U.S. should be prepared to not return to the U.S.
18) What will happen if my visa is denied?
In the event that applicants who reside in the U.S. are found ineligible for a U.S. visa in Canada or Mexico, they will not be allowed to return to the U.S. to settle their affairs. They should be prepared to leave Canada or Mexico for their home country immediately. Landed Immigrants, Temporary Workers and Students in Canada may reapply in Canada according to procedures in effect here.
To determine if you require a visa to enter Canada , please get in touch with a Canadian Consulate or Canadian Immigration. For Canadian Consulate locations in the U.S. please feel free to contact our Visa Information Center. For more information, please refer to the following link:
21) I am a Canadian Citizen. Why am I not able to access the website to book an appointment?
Generally, Canadian Citizens do not require a visa to enter the United States , and do not require an appointment. The appropriate visa status is granted by submitting a request and all appropriate supporting documentation directly to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the Port of Entry. For more information on this, please visit http://www.amcits.com/canada.asp, or contact our Visa Information Center at the numbers listed below. There are some rare cases where a Canadian citizen may require an appointment. If you have been advised that you need an appointment for your visa, you can book this appointment by contacting our Visa Information Center.
22) Why am I not able to change the name, passport number, or visa type for my profile?
To maintain the integrity of our database, the full name and passport number are locked once a profile is created. We cannot change the name assigned to a profile. If you need a profile with a different name, you will need to create a new profile. If you need to update or make a correction to your passport number, please contact our Visa Information Center.
Because different Consulates have different restrictions on what visa types they handle, you cannot change the visa type on your profile once an appointment is booked. Please make sure the visa type is set correctly before booking an appointment. If you need to apply for a different visa type, you will need to cancel your appointment, change your visa type, and search for a new available appointment date.
23) How do I contact the Visa Information Center ?
You can contact the Visa Information Center between the hours of 7am and 10pm Eastern time. These agents can answer general visa related questions, and can also book appointments for you, if available. Please be advised that the agents only have access to the same appointment calendar that is shown online. If there are no appointments available online, they will not be able to book an appointment for you. You can reach the Visa Information Center by calling one of the following numbers:
To Pay By Credit Card: 1-888-840-0032 ($1.59CA Per Minute) If Calling From the U.S. : 1-900-443-3131 ($1.89US Per Minute) If Calling From Canada : 1-900-451-2778 ($1.89CA Per Minute)
These are all free to access. Due to high workload processing visa applications the U.S. Consulates and Embassy are unable to offer individual guidance to callers. Do not call their switchboards for visa information or procedures.