The article is updated on March 3, 2022
There’s good news for Indians planning for USA visa renewal. The USA is working on a way to smoothen and shorten the visa renewal application process for Indians.
In light of this, from September 1, 2019, onwards, certain Indian citizens can apply for an interview waiver. This will reduce turnaround time for the visas affected significantly. It will also improve customer service in the country.
Interviews Waiver For Some American Visas Extended Till December 31st 2022
The US has extended its visa waiver program till December 31st of 2022. The interview waiver is applicable for students applying for F, M, and academic J visas, working professionals applying for H-1, H-2, and H-3 visas, and individual L visas and applications in the culture and extraordinary ability category, i.e., O, P, and Q visas.
The United States of America issued over 55,000 visas to Indian students in 2021 alone. There were visas issued in other classes as well. It goes to prove the popularity of this country with Indians looking at moving abroad.
For many of them, the latest announcement by the US Department of State comes as a welcome move. Visa aspirants who meet certain criteria will no longer have to sit for an interview as part of the visa application process.
There will be over 20,000 waiver appointments given to Indian visa applicants in the New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai US consulates for Spring 2022 applications through to December 2022. Consular authorities will have the discretion to waiver interviews based on the type of visa being applied for and eligibility criteria.
Not having an interview stage makes the visa application process quicker and increases the likelihood of getting a visa.
USA Visa Renewal – Who Qualifies For An Interview Waiver?
The new rule will affect people applying to renew visas to the USA. It is however exempt to certain conditions. Applicants between the age of 14 and 79 years cannot apply for an interview waiver.
In certain cases even the exempted individuals i.e., those below the age of 14 years and those above the age of 79 years, may be called in for an interview.
To be eligible for the interview waiver program, applicants must meet certain criteria:
- The applicant must have previously been issued an American visa. This may be in any category.
- The applicant must never before have been refused an American visa.
- There should be no indication of being potentially ineligible for an American visa.
- The applicant must submit the visa application from the country he/ she is a citizen or resident of.
- First time applicants who have travelled before to the USA using Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
Interviews may also be waived for individuals renewing visas within 48 months of expiry.
Interview Waiver – The Process To Be Followed
Individuals who are eligible to apply for an interview waiver must schedule an appointment at the consulate to submit their passport, visa renewal application, and supporting documents.
There are currently 11 locations in India where this can be done. These centers are in:
Before the passport and documents are accepted, they will be crosschecked against a document checklist. An application for an interview waiver must also be submitted at this time. A response to this application will be sent to the applicant within 7-10 business days.
If the request for an interview waiver is denied, the applicant will be given a date for the interview. This interview will be held at the consulate where the documents were initially submitted.
Visa applicants are free to choose where they want to submit their documents. However, once the documents have been submitted, the post cannot be changed.
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