U.S. Embassy in New Delhi has announced expansion of the Interview Waiver Pilot Program, under which in select circumstances, certain qualified applicants who were interviewed and thoroughly screened in conjunction with a prior visa application may be eligible to renew their visas without undergoing another interview. Under the expanded program, applicants who are applying for a B1/B2 and whose prior B1/B2 visa expired within the last 48 months or is still valid; and applicants who are applying for a C1/D, J2, L2, or H4 visa and whose prior visa in the same category expired within the last 12 months or is still valid, are eligible to apply for a new visa without an interview. However, in order to be eligible:
- the applicant must have a previous U.S. visa in the same class as the visa class for which he or she wishes to renew;
- the applicant’s previous visa must have been issued in India;
- the applicant must be applying in the consular district where he or she wants his or her passport delivered;
- the applicant must have no refusals for a visa in any category after his or her most recent visa issuance.
The Embassy has also clarified that the program does not entitle any applicant to a waiver of personal appearance, and consular officers retain the authority to interview any applicant who they determine requires a personal appearance. Further, if the prior visa was issued before January 1, 2008, the applicant may be required to submit fingerprints at a consular section.