The U.S. Mission in India has announced the expansion of the Interview Waiver Program (IWP), as part of an ongoing initiative by the Department of State to streamline the visa process and meet increased visa demand in India. The IWP allows qualified individuals to apply for additional classes of visas without being interviewed in person by a U.S. consular officer. With nearly 700,000 nonimmigrant visa applications in 2011, the expansion is expected to benefit thousands of visa applicants in India.
The current IWP, implemented in March 2012, allows Indian visa applicants who are renewing visas that are still valid or expired within the past 48 months, to submit their applications for streamlined processing, including waiver of a personal interview, within the following visa categories:
- Business/Tourism (B-1 and/or B-2)
- Dependent (J-2, H-4, L-2)
- Transit (C) and/or Crew Member (D), including C-1/D
- Children applying before their 7th birthday (any visa class)
- Applicants applying on or before their 80th birthday (any visa class)
Under the expanded program, the following Indian applicants may also be considered for streamlined processing:
- Children applying before their 14th birthday (any visa class)
- Students returning to attend the same school and same program
- Temporary workers on H-1B visas
- Temporary workers on individual L-1A or L-1B visas.
While the goal is to simplify visa processing, not all applications will be accepted for streamlined processing and consular officers may choose to interview any applicant in any visa category. All renewal applications must be within the same classification as the previously issued visa in order to be eligible; however, applicants with visas annotated with the words “clearance received”, are not eligible to waive the personal interview. Renewal applicants may still be required to make an appointment for biometrics collection and all applicants must submit the required fees and DS-160 application form.
For more informatin on the interview waiver process, please visit the Mission India visa information page.