According to the U.S. Consulate in India, “This pilot program permits consular officers to waive interviews for qualified nonimmigrant applicants worldwide who are renewing their visa within 48 months of the expiration of their previously held visa, and within the same classification as the previous visa”.
This program falls under two categories:
- Dropbox Submission – Dropbox doesn’t require finger print submission
- Interview Waiver – Requires finger print submission when received visa before November 1st 2008
Update : NOW H1 and F1 visa renewal applicants are eligible for Interview Waiver Program.
INTERVIEW WAIVER PROGRAM CHECKLIST
Eligibility Criteria for all applicants except child below 14 years and applicant above 80 years of age:
- I received my visa after November 1, 2008
- I currently hold/previously held , a B-1/B-2, C-1D, J-2, L-2, or H-4 visa which I wish to renew
- My visa is valid or recently expired (expired within 48 months of the expiration of the previously held visa if the applicant is applying for a B-1/B-2 or C-1D visa, or expired within 12 months if applying for a J-2, L-2, or H-4 visa).
- Students returning to attend the same school and same program and Temporary workers on H1-B visas
- Temporary workers on Individual L1-A or Individual L1-B visas
- My previous visa was issued in India
- My most recent visa (in the same visa class for which I am applying) was issued on or after my 14th birthday
- I have no refusals for a visa in any category after my most recent visa issuance
- My prior visa is not annotated “Clearance Received”
- My most recent visa (in the same visa class for which I am applying) was not lost or stolen
Eligibility Criteria for Child below 14 years:
- Valid visa copy of the same visa category of either parents in which the child is applying
Eligibility criteria for applicants over 80 years of age:
- Applying on or after 80th birthday
Applicants with visas that were issued before January 1, 2008 may be required to submit fingerprints at a U.S. consulate in India.
Those candidates who received their visa after November 1 2008, automatically qualify for the Visa Interview “Drop Box” Program and may not require to go to the OFC to submit the finger prints.
Note: Using the interview waiver or drop box service does not guarantee visa issuance. In some cases, you may be required to appear for a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, for example, if you submit an incomplete and/or inaccurate application. Submit your application well in advance of your planned travel to allow for the possibility that a visa interview will be necessary.
The above criteria has been mentioned by the U.S. Consulate in India. I would say this is definitely going to help a lot of candidates who are applying for visa renewal for specific visas qualified in this program. Did you go through this process before? We would like to hear from you how it went. Please write to us your comments, questions, feedback or experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org