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  • U.S. Visa Expiring? You May Not Have To Go To The U.S. Embassy To Renew It

    Learn more about how you can renew your U.S. visa and all the documents you need for the procedure.
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
U.S. Visa Expiring? You May Not Have To Go To The U.S. Embassy To Renew It
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Unless your B1/B2 (Business and Tourism) U.S. visa is not due for renewal, you may not have heard of the U.S. consulate’s Visa Interview Waiver Program (also called the Interview Waiver Dropbox Program). This renewal process, which has been introduced in some countries as early as 2012, is easier and breezier and allows non-immigrant U.S. visa holders to renew their expiring or near-expiring visas without having to go all the way to the U.S. embassy for an interview.

    Yes, that’s right, no more long queues, carrying bulky documents, fingerprints, surrendering your phones, and sweaty palms before an interview. There is a caveat of course. You still have to pay the application fee of US$160 (consular exchange rate is at  P54, so that's P8,640), whether or not your visa gets approved.

    You also need to meet the Interview Waiver Qualification requirements, which are the following (each item has to be a ‘yes’):

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    • I have a previous B1/B2 visa that I wish to renew.
    • My visa was issued after July 1, 2007.
    • My prior visa was valid for at least five years.
    • My prior B1/B2 visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months.
    • I am a citizen of the Philippines.
    • My prior visa does not say “Clearance Received” or “Travel with Employer”.
    • I have my passport with my B1/B2 visa in my possession.
    • My most recent visa was issued on or after my 14th birthday.
    • The last time I applied for a B1/B2 visa it was approved.

    Once you have confidently answered each, you are set for the Interview Waiver Program.

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    Filling out the DS-160 form

    There are two forms to be filled. The first is the DS-160 or the online non-immigrant visa application —this form will be familiar if you have been granted a B1/B2 US visa in the past. It asks for your personal and passport information, travel information (the date on when you intend to visit the US), work and education (if student) background, security and background information. You also need to upload a photo.

    A piece of new information that will be asked of you is your social media presence — yes, you read that right. You need to provide your account name for platforms like Instagram, FB, Twitter, etc. Learn more about this here.

    After the DS-160 form has been filled, check out the next steps under Renew My Visa page. Here, you will find detailed instructions how to proceed with the application payment and provide information for the courier delivery (their partner courier is 2GO). This is also the part where you have to answer the Interview Waiver Qualification questions above. Basic details such as your name, contact, and address will be asked for purposes of delivering your visa back to your preferred address should it be approved.

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    Please note that answering ‘Yes’ to all the questions above doesn’t guarantee you an Interview Waiver. If you are found to be ineligible for this program, your application may be returned to you via courier, and you will be required to schedule a visa interview.

    Once you have accomplished the forms and paid the fees, you are asked to submit these document and bring to the nearest 2GO branch.

    • Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter
    • Current and old passport with previous B1/B2 visa
    • 2 photos, color, white-background, unretouched, 2x2 inch photograph on glossy paper, taken within the last 6 months, in neutral facial expression and with both eyebrows and ears exposed

    Check out the nearest qualified 2GO branch near you here and you’re all set. The visa processing turn-around may take two weeks or more.

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