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US extends visa walk-in interview waiver for more applicants; check here

It is applicable for those who want to renew their US visa within 48 months of expiry

US Visa

BS Web Team New Delhi

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In a move that will shorten the waiting time for visa appointments, the United States (US) expanded the scope of its visa waiver programme on Thursday. In a tweet, it announced that travellers with "clearance received" or "department authorisation" on their previous visas can now use the waiver to apply for a new visa.

"More good news for US visa renewals! Travellers with 'clearance received' or 'department authorisation' on their previous visas can now use the interview waiver process to apply for a new visa. For additional interview waiver criteria, please see our website," the tweet by the US Embassy India read.

This is applicable for those who want to renew their US visa within 48 months of expiry.

The embassy's website shows that the Department of State has also allowed consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for travellers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas who were previously issued any type of visa if they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.

It does not, however, apply to those who have a previous refusal that was not subsequently waived or overcome.

The adjudicating consular officers may also request an in-person interview if additional information is required from applicants.

The website further added that applicants applying through the interview waiver process should allow up to three weeks from the time a passport has been accepted at the Visa Application Center until the passport is delivered or they are notified that the passport is ready for pickup.

The US had also extended the waiver program under some categories till December 31, 2023, last year.

These included those applying for certain H-2 (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) visas, students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants), temporary workers who have an individual petition approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visa applicants) who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.

What is the US Visa Waiver Program?

The US Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 40 countries to travel to the US for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa.  

In return, the 40 countries must permit US citizens and nationals to travel to their countries for a similar length of time without a visa for business or tourism purposes. It was started in 1986.

The US VWP countries include France, Germany, Japan, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (UK).

Is India a part of the US VWP?

India is not yet a part of the US Visa waiver program. All citizens who want to visit the US must apply for a visitor visa to visit the country.

The US is, however, relaxing norms of getting a visa for Indians.

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First Published: Apr 28 2023 | 9:16 AM IST

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