Many people are often surprised to find that a U.S. visa cannot be renewed. In order to continue maintaining a U.S. visa, the application process must be restarted. You will also need to pay all fees associated with the application process again. In some cases, it’s not necessary to attend the consular interview or become fingerprinted again.
Waiving the Consular Interview
There is an interview waiver program available for those who wish to regain their U.S. visa status. Not all travellers returning to the U.S. will need to participate in the consular interview if particular conditions are met.
You can participate in the IWP (Interview Waiver Program) if any of the following describes you’re current situation.
- You’re applying for a G4, G3, G2, G1, C3, C2, A2, or A1 visa (eligible for the IWP “Drop Box” program, fingerprinting not required).
- You are a senior citizen. You must be at least 80 years of age (eligible for the IWP “Drop Box” program, fingerprinting not required).
- You are a child. At least one parent must possess a currently effective visa of the same category. The parents of the child must both be Mexican or TCN (Third Country National) currently living in Mexico. If the child’s parents are TCNs, they must possess either FM2 or FM3 status (eligible for the IWP “Drop Box” program, fingerprinting not required).
All of the following must apply to you in order to qualify for the IWP:
- Your last visa expired less than 48 months ago, or your visa is still current. You are applying for an O, M, J, F, C1/D, B1/B2, BBBCV, or BCC visa. Your last or current visa must be of the same status as the one for which you’re applying. (If this situation does not apply, you are still eligible only if you are seeking work/school or you are exchange visitor. Your last visa must have been of the same classification as the one for which you’re applying, it must either be current or have expired in the previous 12 months, and the petitioner must be the same).
- You have a valid passport, and you possess a previous visa.
- You’re applying for the same visa status as the one you previously held.
- The visa status you most recently held was given to you at age 7 or later.
- Your last visa contains the same information regarding your name, DOB (date of birth), birthplace, and nationality.
Important: If your name currently differs from the name listed on your last visa (for example, because you married), the other name must be provided during the DS-160 application process. This name will be listed as an alias.
Consular Interview and Fingerprinting Requirements for Visa Renewal
Even if you’ve already participated in the consular interview and fingerprinting appointment, you’ll need to do so again if you are any of the following applicant types:
- An applicant seeking E3, T, U, H2, B1 (must be a “domestic employee in the US”), or blanket L-1 status.
- An applicant who has previously been convicted of a crime or arrested anywhere else globally.
- An applicant who has ever committed an immigration violation in the U.S. For example, being deported or denied entry would both be immigration violations.
In the event that more information is needed for your application to be processed, you will be asked for it via email. It’s incredibly important to set up an email account that you can access every day in case more information is requested of you.
Work With A Legal Professional For Best Results
There is never any guarantee that you will be permitted to receive visa status of any kind. If the U.S. Consulate/Embassy analyzes your application and decides that it requires more information to process it, your presence may be requested for questioning. This isn’t necessarily bad; it’s just important that you comply with all requests of the U.S. Consulate/Embassy to ensure you maximize your chances of being granted the visa.
- If you’re applying for J2 status, you’ll need a copy of your DS-2019.
- If you’re applying for H4 or L2 status, you’ll need the visa of the primary applicant and an I-797 copy.
- If you’re applying for C1D status, you’ll need a joining letter copy and original CDC.
In some cases, both the fingerprinting process and consular review aren’t required for visa renewal.
Consultations Are Available!
Find out about your eligibility for a waiver by contacting KPPB Law online or by calling our offices to schedule a consultation.