Visitor visas are non-immigrant visas, issued to applicants who want to enter the US temporarily for business (B-1 visa), tourism (B-2 visa) or for a combination of both (B-1/B-2). Such non-immigrant visa is issued on a temporary basis, for a specific period of time. The visa holder needs to leave US territory before the visa expires. If they wish to revisit the country, they will need to re-apply for a fresh visa.
However, there are times when you can renew your visa while in the US to lengthen your duration of stay in the country. The process of visa renewal is similar to the initial visa application process, with some additions, which I will cover in this article.
Requirements for US Visa Renewal
If the expiration date issued on the visa stamped on your passport has passed, it is necessary to renew the visa. However, you cannot change the visa category at the time of renewal. So, if you had held a B-1 visa, you can’t change it to a B-2.
Also read: Visit visa interview questions
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When a visa expires, the traveller needs to return to their country of residence. It is from their home country that they will need to apply for a visa renewal.
In case you already have been issued a visa but wish to apply for a different category, the application is likely to be rejected. After you have been denied a visa by the US embassy, you cannot apply for the renewal of your expired visa.
Over the years, there might be changes in the eligibility criteria for individual visa categories. It is, therefore, important to check all the requirements before applying for renewal to avoid rejection.
Steps to Apply for Visa Renewal
Fill out Form DS-160, the Online Non-immigrant Visa Application form again and submit, just like you did for the initial visa application process. Save the confirmation page and number.
Make the payments for the visa renewal according to your visa type. It is after fee payment that your application will be sent for further processing.
Visa Interview Waiver
During the visa renewal process, you’ll need to visit the website of the US Embassy and create an account. Once you sign in, you’ll be asked a certain set of questions. The aim of these questions is to know whether the applicant is eligible for visa interview waiver. If you are eligible, there will be no need to appear for the face-to-face interview.
You can visit the link to know the eligibility for the Visa Interview Waiver.
In case, you qualify for the waiver, you just need to mail two photographs meeting the photo requirements, the Form DS-160 confirmation page, passport that is valid for 6 months after your intended departure from the US, previously expired passports with US visas, receipts for the fees paid for the US visa.
Certain other documents may be required, depending on the type of visa you are applying for. Do check for these before applying.