Visa is the most important document which makes you eligible to enter, stay and exit from a country. In many cases, a visa does not authorize but merely makes your eligible to submit the required documents at the consulate office to enter a foreign country for a stated purpose. Different types of visas are issued for various purposes. If you wish to stay in a country for a longer period of time, you must renew your visa.
Time for visa renewal
It is important to note that you should apply for your visa renewal before the expiry of your visa, failing which, your application for renewal may be rejected, in most cases. In other words, you cannot overstay in a country and should get your visa renewal approved prior to the last date mentioned on your visa sticker. The visa renewal requirements vary from country to country. Also, within a country, the renewal requirements may vary depending on the type of visa (business travellers, students, crew members and tourists among others). Some countries allow interview waiver for qualified applicants under specific conditions. Obviating a need for another round of interview saves time for the visa applicants while helping consular officials focus on approving more number of fresh applicants.
Visa renewal requirements
The most common visa renewal requirements include the following:
Visa renewal fee
Visa renewal form
As a visa applicant, you have to pay a visa application fee when you apply for a new visa or renew it. The fees varies depending on the type of nonimmigrant visa. You are also required to fill DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application form. You have to save the confirmation page after your fill out the form. You should register an account on the official website of the US embassy in India. In case you fulfil the eligibility requirements for an interview waiver, you should schedule a visa appointment at your nearest Visa Application Center (VPC). You should get your fingerprints at the VPC. You should also submit your current passport and recent visa along with the required supporting documents. Children who are below 14 years need not be present at the Visa Application Centre as their parents or guardians can submit the required documents. In case any additional documents are required, the US embassy will send you an email. If case your visa renewal application is approved, you can collect your visa and passport at a Document Collection Center.
Visa Waiver Programme
Under the Visa Waiver Programme, citizens/nationals of around 38 countries may go to the United States for tourism or business purposes for three months sans visas. Likewise, 38 countries permit U.S. citizens to enter their countries sans visas for the same period of time.
Visa Renewal under Interview Waiver Programme
The United States launched an Interview Waiver Program (IWP) in India in 2012 to streamline the process of visa approval owing to the increasing number of applications from India. Under the IWP, Indian citizens (qualified) can submit applications for visas without having to report for in-person interviews by consular officials.
Indian citizens who wish to renew their visas which are valid or have expired (48 months) can apply for IWP under specific categories as listed below:
Temporary workers (H1-B visas) wishing to return to same work with a valid visa or expired (12 months)
Transit - C
Crew Member - D
Dependent - H4, J2, L2
Business and Tourism - B1 and B2
Children - before their seventh birthdays and 14th birthdays
Senior citizens on or after 80th birthdays
Students wishing to continue a programme or continue attending a school
Temporary workers (L1-A or L1-B) who wish to return to the same work with valid visa or expired (12 months)
Eligibility Criteria for Interview Waiver Programme
Applicants (except children below 14 years of age) are eligible for IWP under specific conditions as listed below:
Applicants who received their recent visa in India after January 1, 2008
Previous visa sans tags such as ‘Department Authorization’ or ‘Clearance Received’
Applicants who received their recent visa after their 14th birthdays
Applicants with no previous visa refusals
Applicants who wish to apply for L or H visas with previous visas which are valid or expired (12 months)
FAQs on Visa Renewal
- My passport has expired. However, my visa is valid on it. Do I need to apply for a new visa on my new passport?
No, you will be able to use the old visa to travel to a country, provided, the visa is valid, fits the eligibility for the purpose of travel, and is not damaged. In these cases, you will be required to carry both the old and the new passports and the passports should be from the same country and category.
- If I have a non-immigrant visa that will be expiring soon, can I renew it? What is the process of application?
The renewal process is similar to the initial application process. The entire process of application has to be followed every time you want to renew your visa. This will be applicable even if you apply for renewal while the current visa is still valid.
- My visa application was not approved. Can I get a refund of the application fee?
No, the application fee is non-refundable. It is charged for covering the cost of the process of visa application. You will not get a refund against the non-approval of the visa application.