The United States has announced today that Indian nationals who renew their visas, whether valid or expired, within 4 years, will not be asked by consular officers to attend a personal interview. The new rules will apply to visa categories B1, B2, C and D. Beneficiaries include tourists, business travelers, crew members, and students.
Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Janice L. Jacobs traveled to New Delhi, India, for the second U.S.-India Consular Dialogue with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Today, Jacobs unveiled a new program to streamline the visa renewal process for Indian visa applicants, the purpose of which is to encourage more visits to the United States and to deepening cultural and economic ties.
Although the new rules do not extend to employment-based immigration visas, such as those in the H and L categories, there are indications that employment-based visas could be included in the future as well. When asked whether the new rules would also apply to H-1B and L-1 visa renewals, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice Jacobs said that the issue of employment-based visas may come up during her meeting with Indian officials tomorrow.
The new rules allow consular officers to waive interviews for applicants who seek to renew their visas within four years of the expiration date of their previous visas if they are in the same classification.
Due to security and terrorism concerns, consular officers will still have the discretion to request visa applicants to attend an interview during the visa application process at any time and for any reason.