Important Update on Waivers of the Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants (link to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/important-update-on-waivers-of-the-interview-requirement-for-certaing-nonimmigrant-visa-applicants.html)
Last Updated: December 21, 2023
Applicants renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration date continue to be eligible for interview waiver until further notice.
To be eligible for an interview waiver, applicants must also meet certain criteria, including that they:
- apply in their country of nationality or residence.
- are renewing a U.S. visa in their possession.
- have never been refused a visa (unless such refusal was overcome or waived).
- have no apparent or potential ineligibility.
- are applying in the same name and nationality of the previous visa they are renewing.
What’s New? The Secretary of State, following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, has determined that the following categories of interview waivers are in the national interest. Changes based on that determination are implemented by consular officers, who now have the authority and discretion to waive the in-person interview for:
- First time H-2 visa applicants (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers); and
- Other nonimmigrant visa applicants applying for any nonimmigrant visa classification who:
- Were previously issued a nonimmigrant visa in any classification, unless the only prior issued visa was a B visa; and
- Are applying within 48 months of their most recent nonimmigrant visa’s expiration date.
In all cases, applicants must meet certain legal requirements to qualify for an interview waiver. Implementation of this authority began January 1, 2024, and will be reviewed annually. This authority is in place until further notice.
Please note that the U.S. Embassy Port Louis reserves the right to require any applicant who applies to renew their U.S. visa by mail or drop-off to physically present themselves for an in-person interview if requested.
B1/B2 and C1/D visas: To apply for renewal of a visa waiving interview, applicants must meet all the following criteria to qualify:
- Applicant must be a legal resident or national Mauritius, Seychelles, or Reunion (Fr) and physically present.
- Applicant must be applying for a nonimmigrant visa category C1/Dand/or B1/B2 and have, in their possession to submit with the application, a previous visa in the same category.
- Applicant’s previous U.S. visa must not have been issued with a limited validity timeframe and must not contain the annotations, “CLEARANCE RECEIVED” or “ESTA RECORD REVIEWED.”
- Applicant’s previous U.S. visa must be valid or not be more than 48-months expired(4 years prior to the current date).
- Applicant must be renewing their U.S. visa in the same name and nationality as their previous U.S. visa.
- Applicants 14 years-old and over must have provided digital fingerprints at the previous visa interview (for example: a child who was under 14 at the previous interview and did not provide fingerprints must make an appointment and appear in person).
Please prepare the application package with the following:
- Current passportwith at least six months validity remaining before expiration
- Passport that holds the valid or expired U.S. visa (this may be the same passport as #1)
- Confirmation page of application form DS-160
- One U.S. visa-sized photo (2 in x 2 in) (5 cm X 5 cm) on a white background taken within the last six months with no glasses (read more for photo requirements)
- Fee payment: either make an appointment to pay in person in cash [U.S. Dollars or Mauritian Rupees] or drop-off on a Tuesday or mail-in via bank check [U.S. Dollars only] *see A and B below for details.
Application Package Submission and Payment method:
- In-Person: Due to high demand, please schedule an appointment online to submit your application package in-person at the Embassy. You may then pay the visa fee directly at the U.S. Embassy in cash (U.S. dollars or Mauritian rupees). For multiple members of a family, one appointment to submit interview waiver applications is acceptable, as long as only one person comes to the Embassy with the completed package for each applicant.
- Mail-in/Drop off: Drop off a complete application package on Tuesdays between 09:00 and 15:00 at the U.S. Embassy reception desk on the 4th Floor. To mail-in or drop-off your application package, you must include in the sealed envelope a bank draft or cashier’s check for the visa fee for each applicant. Cash payment is NOT accepted.
Please note the check must be exactly:
- In US Dollars
- Made payable to S. Embassy Port Louis
- In the appropriate amount per the Visa Feeinformation below
- A bank or cashier’s check only, not drawn on a personal account
The envelope should be clearly marked with the applicant’s full name and “For visa renewal.” Please note that the U.S. Embassy Port Louis reserves the right to require any applicant who applies to renew their U.S. visa by mail or drop-off to physically present themselves for an in-person interview if requested.
Please check the reciprocity tables for your passport nationality here (link to: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/Visa-Reciprocity-and-Civil-Documents-by-Country.html) to see if there are additional issuance fees associated with your visa class. Below are the most common visas issued at the U.S. Embassy Port Louis:
The application fee for U.S. visitor visas and other non-petition based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas is $185. Petition-based (H, L, O, P, Q and R) visa fee is $205. E visa application fee is $315.
The visa renewal process by mail takes 7-10 working days absent the need for additional administrative processing. Collection days are Mondays and Wednesdays between 14:00 and 14:45