In March 2012, the US consulates in India launched the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) to further streamline the visa application process in India, to meet significantly increased demand. The US consulates in India are now expanding that program further. The current program allows certain Indian visa applicants who are renewing visas that are still valid, or that expired in the past 48 months to apply for the interview waiver program, if they fall into the following categories:
- Business/Tourism (B1 and/or B2);
- Dependent (J2, H4, L2)
- Transit (C) and/or Crew Member (D) – including C1/D.
- Children applying before their 7th birthday traveling on any visa class
- Applicants applying on or after their 80th birthday traveling on any visa class
The program is now expanding, and Indian applicants who fall into the additional following categories may also apply:
- Children applying before their 14th birthday traveling on any visa class
- Students returning to attend the same school and same program
- Temporary workers on H1-B visas
- Temporary workers on Individual L1-A or Individual L1-B visas
The US consulates of course reserve the right to interview anyone applying for a visa; just becuase you fall into one of the above categories does not mean you automatically are exempt from the interview. However, this program opens the possiblity for faster visa processing, which will be critical, especially over the upcoming holiday travel season.
Remember, the visa is not the same as the I-94 card. You still must make sure to timely submit an application to extend your stay in the US if your I-94 card is expiring.