The United States Embassy is happy to answer some common questions that non-immigrant visa holders and applicants may have.

Q: What is the Interview Waiver Program (IWP)?

A: The IWP allows certain applicants to apply for visas while waiving the traditional requirement of interviewing with an officer at the Embassy. The program only applies to specific visa applicants.

Q:  Who is eligible for the IWP?

A:  Applicants are eligible for the IWP if they previously held a visa in the same category that expired less than 12 months prior to the new application. Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79, as well as certain diplomatic- or official-type visa applicants, may also be eligible for the IWP.

How do I apply for the IWP?

Applicants should go online ( and complete a non-immigrant visa application and pay the associated fee. Applicants will then schedule a time, typically between 1 and 3 PM on Wednesdays, to come to the Embassy to submit their passports. When you come to the Embassy, you will be given a form that provides the date on which your passport and visa should be ready to uplift, unless you hear from the Embassy requesting additional information or an interview before that date. If additional information or an interview is requested, your case will not be completed until this process is complete.

Q: Is my visa automatically approved if I am eligible for the


A: No. An officer reviews each IWP application and adjudicates each case based on the merits and qualifications of the applicant. Applicants are not automatically entitled to a waiver of the visa interview requirement, but this requirement may be waived by a Consular officer at the Embassy for applicants meeting the IWP eligibility criteria.

Q:  What paperwork do I need to submit with my IWP application?

A:  The officer adjudicating your case will determine if additional paperwork is required to complete the processing of your application. Unless an officer or other Embassy employee asks you for additional documents, your visa application and passport should be the only documents required to finish processing your case.

“Ask the Consul” from the U.S. Embassy Consular Section answers questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues. If you have a general question about visa policy, please email it to us at  We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News.

Information about visas and travel can be viewed at,, and at  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 columns you see here, 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  for case specific information.

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