Barbadians seeking to renew their United States visas should find the process much easier following an announcement by the US Government of plans to wave the interview process by the end of this month.
In a release from the US embassy in Wildey, St Michael, Washington said the decision came as a result of continuing efforts to improve customer service and streamline the visa process. The new policy takes effect on August 28, 2018.
Barbados passport holders may qualify for a visa renewal interview waiver if their previous visa expired within the past twelve months and they are applying for the same visa category as their previous visa, the release stated.
“The applicant must be physically present in Barbados or within the consular district of the US embassy in Bridgetown to avail themselves of this option. Additionally, the previous US visa must be in the applicant’s possession, and the applicant must have submitted a ten-fingerprint scan in conjunction with the previous visa application,” it said.
In addition, students who wish to renew their visas, and who satisfy the requirements may qualify for interview waiver if they are applying to continue attendance at the same institution or will continue the same major course of study at a different institution.
It said applicants seeking to renew work-related visas who are returning to work for the same employer as annotated on the previous visa may also qualify. Applicants under the age of 14 and over 79 will continue to qualify for interview waiver in most visa classifications.
Third country nationals must schedule an interview.
“Eligibility for interview waiver does not automatically entitle applicants to a waiver of the interview requirement. Meeting the general qualifications for visa renewal interview waiver does not guarantee that an applicant will not be requested to present him or herself in person for an interview at the embassy,” the release said.
In January last year, the US president, Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending the programme, which allows frequent visitors to the United States to bypass in-person interviews with a US consular officer when they need to renew a travel visa.
The programme launched in 2012 as part of then president Barack Obama’s strategy to increase inbound travel and tourism. It was made permanent in 2014. (CM)