Q: What is the Interview Waiver Program (IWP)?
A: The Interview Waiver Program is a new procedure that allows non-immigrant visa (NIV) applicants who meet specific conditions to skip the in-person interviews to renew their visas. The purpose of the Interview Waiver Program is to save time for both applicants and officers by shortening the application process for those who have established a good travel history.
Q: How Does the IWP work?
A: The Interview Waiver Program eliminates the need for an interview for certain applicants seeking a renewal within 48 months of the date of expiration of their prior visa. It is available for B1/B2 and C1/D visa types. Applicants who believe they meet the criteria for the Interview Waiver Program should select the “IWP” interview type when applying to renew their visas. These applicants should be aware that they still may need to present themselves to provide fingerprints for their applications.
A: Applicants who meet all of the following criteria qualify for the Interview Waiver Program:
1. The applicant is a resident of Guyana and had his/her previous visa issued at Embassy Georgetown
2. The applicant is seeking to renew his/her visa in the same classification (B1/B2 or C1/D) not more than 48 months after the previous visa’s expiration
3. The expired visa was issued at full validity (five or ten years). [Note: This also applies for applicants who received five-year visas while under the age of 18.]
4. The applicant has not had any immigration violations or criminal offenses
5. The applicant is able to provide the expired visa and any subsequent passports issued to him/her since that visa was issued
6. The applicant has the following documents accompanying his/her passport:
a. Confirmation Page for Form DS-160
b. One photo
c. Previous passport with old visa
d. For Crewmembers only (visa categories D and C1/D): A letter from the employer on letterhead stationery confirming current employment with the company
Q: If I received a visitor’s visa (B1/B2) valid for 12 months do I qualify for IWP?
A: No. The Interview Waiver Program is specific to those individuals who received five-year or ten-year visas.
Q: If I qualify for the IWP will I ever need to do an interview again?
A: Eligibility for interview waiver does not guarantee the applicant will have the interview waived. Other circumstances may require applicants to complete an interview. Applicants who are determined not to be clearly qualified for visa issuance by a Consular Officer, for instance, will be subject to an interview. Some applicants may also be asked to present themselves for interviews based on random selection.
“Ask the Consul” is a bi-weekly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. If you have a general question about visa policy please email it to us at AskGeorge@ state.gov. We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News and on our website at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov/ask-the-consul.html . Information about visas and travel can be viewed at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov, http://travel.state.gov, and at http://www.dhs.gov. Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information.
Other than the questions we select, we DO NOT respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul. Please contact the Visa Information Service on telephone number 225-8732 or 703-439-2359 if you have procedural questions or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for case specific information.