TD Visa - Citizen of Iran

Question: I am on TN visa status until August 2010. I am getting married this month in Iran. How long will it take for my wife to get her TD visa? What are the steps?

Reply: After your marriage, your wife will need to apply for a TD visa stamp at a U.S. consulate or embassy. Since the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, she will need to apply at a U.S. consulate outside of Iran. 

Visa services for Iranian citizens are available at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, the U.S. Consulate in Dubai, the U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, and the U.S. Consulate in Naples. Many Iranian nonimmigrant visa applicants apply at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai or the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, because there are Farsi-speaking consular officers at those offices.

Your wife will need to complete the new DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form. In addition to the typical nonimmigrant visa application materials, she will need to present proof of her eligibility for TD visa status such as your marriage certificate and proof of your valid TN visa status, which would include a copy of your I-94, and other evidence such as an employer letter or recent paystubs.

Currently, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey lists the following processing times for a non-immigrant visa applicant from Iran:

  • 12 weeks to schedule an appointment at the Embassy for the visa.
  • Another 12 weeks for the review of the visa application.
  • Then another 4-6 weeks or more for back ground security checks.

Because of the lengthy processing times for Iranian citizens to obtain a visa, it is possible that your future wife’s TD visa will not be issued until right around the time your TN status expires. Evidence of your valid TN visa status is essential not only for the issuance of the TD visa, but also for your wife’s entry to the U.S. under her TD visa.

You may want to consider filing for an I-129 extension of your TN visa status now to ensure a timely approval and to evidence your approved TN status past August 2010. Normal I-129 processing times are about 2 months (you can expedite processing for an added fee). Otherwise, you may have to file for your TN renewal at the border, which can generally only be done around the time your current TN expires.