Ask the Consul – February 2023

Tips and Guidance for coming to the Embassy


We have resumed processing of all categories of visas in addition to providing passport and citizenship services to American citizens. In this edition of our Ask-the-Consul, we provide information on what to expect upon your arrival at the Embassy and tips for a smooth entry.

Q:  My appointment is scheduled for 8:00 am but my friends told me I should arrive at the Embassy at 6:00 am. Is that true? 
A: No. We recommend applicants arrive at the Embassy about 15 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment. Arriving hours before your appointment results in a longer wait to enter the Embassy and unnecessary congestion in the surrounding areas.

 Q:  My child who is under age 18 is the visa applicant. Will I be allowed to enter the Embassy with him/her?     
A: Yes. Children under age 18 who require an interview must appear with at least one parent. The parent must have a photo ID and the child’s birth certificate.

 Q:  I’m an adult but I’m nervous about the interview. Can I bring a relative or friend to help me?    
A: No. Due to security concerns and space limitations, you are not allowed to bring friends, relatives, attorneys, or business contacts to attend the visa interview with you.  Only minors, differently abled persons, and people who need special assistance may bring a family member to the interview. Applicants who do not speak English, Spanish, or Portuguese may bring a translator.

 Q:  What if I am the petitioner? Can I come in with the applicant?
A: Petitioners of minor applicants may attend the interview with the applicant. However, given our space limitations, we do not currently encourage petitioners to appear with adult applicants. If your petitioner is in Guyana and the interviewing officer determines that an interview with him/her would help your case, we will allow you to schedule a joint interview with the petitioner on another date.

Q:  I’m a U.S. Citizen and need to apply for a passport or citizenship service. Can I just show up at the Embassy?
A: No. American citizens seeking routine services, such as a new passport or citizenship certificate for a child, must schedule an appointment online before appearing. Visit our website at to schedule your appointment for the service you seek. Only if you require emergency assistance will you be allowed into the Embassy without an appointment.

Q:  Are there restrictions to what I can bring into the Embassy?
A: Yes. No large bags will be allowed into the Embassy. Only a small purse/wallet and folder or plastic bag containing your application-related papers are allowed. To avoid delaying your entry and that of those in line behind you, please bring only what is required for your interview. Certain items are not permitted in the Embassy including food, liquids, weapons, cell phones, smart watches, photographic or video cameras, radios, or other electronic equipment.

Q:  Does the Embassy provide a storage facility for the things I can’t bring in?    

A: We have a limited number of storage lockers for small bags, phones, smart watches etc. but due to the volume of applicants we see daily, there may not always be lockers available. Please consider this when planning your trip to the Embassy and come with just the necessities for your interview. If you can avoid the need for a storage locker, that would expedite your entry into the Embassy.

 Q:  My friend told me that there is someone located outside the Embassy offering to keep bags for a fee. Has the Embassy approved this person to provide this service?       
A: No. The Embassy has no affiliation with vendors providing services outside of the Embassy and do not endorse any of their activities. More specifically, we have no responsibility or association with the “bag bay” vendors outside of the Embassy, and applicants should exercise caution. If you choose to leave your belongings with a third-party, you do so at your own risk. The safest practice is to leave all prohibited items and large bags at home and come to the Embassy with just your application documents and a small purse/wallet.


“Ask the Consul” is a monthly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. Detailed information about visas and travel can be viewed at, and Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently, and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information. Please contact our Visa Information Service Center on toll free numbers: 1-877-246-6788 or 703-988-5765 if you have general visa questions.”