Pursuant to President Obama’s initiative to improve and speed up the visa process for certain categories of travelers, the Department of State (DOS) has implemented the Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Waiver Pilot Program. This Pilot Program, which will be conducted between January 19, 2012 and January 19, 2014, will allow certain foreign visitors who were interviewed in conjunction with a prior visa application to renew their visas without undergoing another interview.
The DOS has indicated that student and exchange visitor visa applicants (F, J, and M) are eligible for the Pilot Program, but has not made announcements regarding any other categories of visa applicants. To be eligible to apply under the Pilot Program, the applicant must be renewing within the same classification as the previously issued visa, and the visa must have expired less than 48 months prior to renewal. The Pilot Program will apply to nonimmigrant visa applicants worldwide, but will not be conducted in areas the DOS considers to be “high-threat” or “high-fraud” locations.
The Pilot Program also allows consular officers to waive the interview and fingerprint collection requirement worldwide for applicants holding Brazilian passports who are younger than 16 or older than 66. To be eligible, the applicant must be applying for the first time or renewing a previous visa, and the applicant must be a citizen or resident of the country in which they are applying for the visa.