The Interview Waiver Program (IWP), a pilot program initiated back in January, has recently been expanded to allow many more Mexican nationals to renew their nonimmigrant visas without having to attend a second interview at a U.S. Consulate. Previously, nonimmigrants of Mexican and other nationalities with visas expired for twelve months or less were able to renew their visas without an interview; now, the program has been expanded to Mexican nationals with visas that have been expired for up to 48 months. As of July 1, these nonimmigrants will be able to renew their visas with just an application and appointment at an Applicant Service Center (ASC).
Applicants who meet the following criteria are eligible:
- The applicant is renewing a full validity visa;
- The applicant has Mexican citizenship or is a third country national residing in Mexico with immigrant status;
- The applicant is applying in the same visa category;
- The applicant is returning to the same institution or workplace as was indicated in the previous visa application (not applicable to B visas);
- The applicant is applying for a BCC, BBBCV, B1/B2, C1/D, F, I, J, M, or O visa;
- The previous visa is still in the applicant’s possession;
- The previous visa is expired between 13 and 48 months from the day of the appointment at the Applicant Service Center; and
- The Applicant has never been arrested or convicted of a crime, deported from the United States, denied entry to the United States, or had any other problemsor difficulties with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol when attempting to enter the United States.
The expansion comes as part of President Obama’s efforts to promote travel and tourism as important contributions to job creation and economic growth. The IWP was initiated in January to relieve some of the burdens on travelers who are low homeland security risks, while at the same time freeing up resources to interview more first time travelers. The expanded IWP is said to benefit tens of thousands of Mexican travelers, and will make the visa process even more convenient and improve visa processing times. It will also strengthen ties through travel and trade between the United States and Mexico.