Relief for Visa applicants in India as Interview Waiver Program expanded
In an effort to meet the ever increasing visa demand and to ease its process in India, the United States Mission to India has announced an expansion of its Interview Waiver Program (IWP). IWP was introduced in March, 2012, and it allows qualified individuals to apply for additional classes of visas without being interviewed in person by a U.S. consular officer.
The expansion plan is expected to benefit thousands of visa applicants in India. Under the current Interview Waiver Program, Indian visa applicants who are renewing visas that are still valid or expired within the past 48 months may submit their applications for consideration for streamlined processing, including waiver of a personal interview, within the following visa categories:
- Business/Tourism (B1 and/or B2)
- Dependent (J2, H4, L2)
- Transit (C) and/or Crew Member (D) - including C1/D
- Children applying before their 7th birthday traveling on any visa class
- Applicants applying on or after their 80th birthday traveling on any visa class
Under the expanded program, the following Indian applicants may also be considered for streamlined processing:
- Children applying before their 14th birthday traveling on any visa class
- 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
Criteria for the renewal application:
- The renewal application must be within the same classification as the previous visa.
- If the previous visa is annotated with the words “clearance received,” that applicant is not eligible for a waiver of a personal interview.
Not all the applications will be accepted for streamlined processing. The consular officers may interview any visa applicant in any category. An appointment for biometrics (fingerprint and photograph) collection may still be needed for the applicants who are renewing their visas. All applicants must submit the DS-160 application form and the fees. About 700,000 non-immigrant visa applications were processed in 2011, which is an increase of more than 11 percent over the previous year. At present, the waiting period for the applicants is not more than ten days for visa interview appointments and less than one hour at U.S. consular facilities in India.
The implementation of new visa processing system has already smoothened the process further.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.