Bridgetown US Embassy series – “Ask the Consul (Applying for children other than my own)”

  • I applied for a visa for a child that is not my own (i.e. my niece, nephew, cousin, grandchild or family friend) and the visa was denied. The Consular Officer told me that “children qualify for visas through their parents. If a child’s parents do not qualify for a visa, usually the child does not qualify.” If I am the one paying for the trip of the child, and I have a visa, why was the visa denied?

Generally minor children will be issued a visa if one of their parents, biological or legally adopted, has a valid U.S. visa and previous travel to the United States using that visa for its intended purpose. It is assumed that minor children are financially dependent on their parents and if parents demonstrate sufficient ties to qualify for a visa, the children will usually qualify for a visa without a problem.

Occasionally a relative/friend will want to take a child, other than their own child, to the United States for a visit. This relative/friend will have a current visa and apply for a visa for the child; however, the parents of this child do not have visas. The parents may have been denied visas in the past, or may have never applied. It is difficult for the Embassy to issue a visa to a child without the parents.

The Embassy hopes this information was helpful. Additional information about visas or other Consular and travel topics can be found on their website at

In such instances, the Consular Officer does not know exactly what the situation is, or where the parents are. Hence, the Officer will be cautious and likely have many questions about the application. Under such circumstances, a child’s visa may be denied or put on hold to request further documentation about the child’s parents. The U.S. Embassy is very careful about issuing visas to minor children without the parents due to many concerns ranging from illegal immigration to child trafficking.

The U.S. Embassy receives many documents in support of children’s applications, including affidavits and letters from the parents, letters from schools, and parents’ passports without U.S. visas. Please note that it is important to submit the child’s birth certificate, documentation of family income/savings and at least one parent’s passport with a valid U.S. visa in support of a child’s visa application.

  • Is it possible to mail my child’s non-immigrant visa application to the Embassy?

Yes, you may mail in a visa application of a child under the age of 14 to the Embassy. You do not need an appointment and you do not need to appear at the Embassy for an interview. Make sure to follow instructions for “Mail- In Applications” on the Embassy’s website at . It is important that you submit all requested information and supporting documents. Incomplete application packages result in delays and in many cases a visa refusal. Keep in mind every case is unique and there is no guarantee that any visa will be approved.

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