U.S. visa application without a visa interview appointment
Normally, applying for a U.S. visa is not that easy and, above all, time-consuming. However, the Visa Reissuance Program has made it possible for certain applicants to renew their visa by mail instead of a personal interview at the consulate.
Visa Reissuance Program changes in the Corona crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has a direct impact on the execution of postal visa renewals.
Extension of interview waiver eligibility
The U.S. Department of State has announced that interview waiver eligibility will be extended. Interview waiver eligibility specifies how long the U.S. visa may have expired in order to still qualify for Visa Reissuance Program.
Prior to COVID-19, certain U.S. visas could be applied for without an appointment, among other things, if the visa had not expired for more than 12 months. In light of contact minimization, this period was extended to 24 months last year.
Now, interview waiver eligibility has been extended to 48 months, in other word, four years. This is initially expected to last until December 31, 2021.
Note: Our US visa consultants experienced that the new instructions of the U.S. Department of State have hardly been implemented in the U.S. consulates in some countries to date (for example in Germany). Please check with the U.S. consulate in your home country for the respective procedure.
Temporary supension of the Visa Reissuance Program
The U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates had not accepted interview waiver applications for all U.S. visa categories as of March 16, 2020. Thus, the Visa Reissuance Program was temporarily suspended.
At the current time, U.S. consulates in some countries have resumed visa renewal by mail. Applicants should check the websites of the U.S. consulates or the official visa service provider in their home country to find out if the Visa Reissuance Program is available again.
Under the Visa Reissuance Program, certain applicants may, under certain specified conditions
apply for a U.S. visa even without a personal visa interview appointment and
submit the application documents by mail.
This means that exceptionally the visa can be issued without an interview and you do not have to go to the consular section.
Until the introduction of this rule, all visa applicants between 14 and 79 years of age had to appear in person at the U.S. consulate without exception.
The Visa Reissuance Program is part of the Visa Interview Waiver Program and is also known as the Visa Renewal Program.
Requirements for the Visa Reissuance Program in Germany
The postal submission of documents can only be used by applicants who meet all the following requirements:
The Visa Reissuance Program applies only to selected U.S. nonimmigrant visas: C, D, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, R
The applicant must be a citizen of EU member state (e.g. Germany).
The applicant must be physically present in the respective EU member state at the time of the postal submission of the documents and must be available to the consulate for further inquiries or a (possible) subsequent invitation to a personal appointment.
Only applicants who apply for exactly the same visa category that has already been granted in an interview at the U.S. consulate in an EU country will be considered.
New: The visa must be currently still valid or not yet expired for more than 48 months. The period is extended accordingly up to and including December 31, 2021.
The visa may not have been issued before January 1, 2008.
The applicant still has the passport including the U.S. visa.
There is no mention of "Clearance", "Waiver" and / or "Blanket" in the annotation field of the last visa. (Note: L-Blanket visas are therefore excluded from the Visa Reissuance Program)
Note: Anyone who has been denied a visa cannot qualify for the Visa Reissuance Program.
Visa Reissuance Program application process
Those who wish to use the Visa Reissuance Program must proceed as follows to submit their visa application documents.
Step:To apply for a U.S. visa, an online profile must first be created on the website of the official visa service provider.
Step:If the applicant meets the above requirements and thus qualifies for the Visa Reissuance Program, the applicant is asked to send an e-mail regarding the completion of its visa application documents.
Step:After the e-mail is sent, the applicant will receive an address label with the applicant's address and the address of the appropriate U.S. consulate for sending the application documents. With the help of the address label, the application documents can be sent to the U.S. consulate via mail free of charge.
If the applicant does not comply with these requirements, the processing of the visa application process by the U.S. consulate may be delayed.
Note: Please keep in mind that neither the waiver of the personal interview appointment nor the visa issuance can be guaranteed. The U.S. consulate reserves the right to invite the applicant to a personal interview appointment at the U.S. consulate despite the qualification for the Visa Reissuance Program.