U.S. waives in-person requirement for some visa applicants

23 Jan 15

ISRAEL

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The U.S. Embassy in Israel will allow Israeli nationals who meet certain criteria to renew U.S. visitor visas without an in-person visit.

What does the change mean? Qualifying Israeli nationals can renew U.S. visitor visas by having their applications delivered by courier.

  • Implementation timeframe: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: B1/B2, C1/D, F, M, H-1B, H-1B1, I, L, O, P, Q, or R.
  • Who is affected: Qualifying Israeli nationals.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will have no impact on processing times, however some will save significant time preparing their visa applications because they will no longer have to make an in-person visit to the U.S. Embassy.
  • Business impact: The change makes it easier for Israeli nationals, including those planning business trips, to obtain the required visa to travel to the U.S.
  • Next Steps: Those who are eligible can go online, complete their renewal application and prepare documents. They can then submit their applications and documents through courier.

Background: Israeli nationals applying for U.S. visitor visas are generally required to visit the U.S. Embassy for an interview in order to apply for or renew a visa. The Interview Waiver Program allows some to apply for visas by courier, without an interview. The program was previously available only to applicants under 14 and 80 or over. It now also covers applicants between those ages who have a visa that is still valid or expired less than 12 months ago, are applying for a visa in the same place where the previous visa was issued, are applying to renew the same type of visa, were 14 or older when their previous visa was issued, and hold a visa that was issued after Dec. 31, 2007.

The visa must be one of the types listed above. It cannot have the words “clearance,” “blanket” or “waiver” printed on it. Note that officials may determine that applicants must report for an interview even when applicants meet the criteria listed above.

BAL Analysis: Waiver of the in-person requirement will significantly simplify the visa renewal process for those who qualify.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Israel. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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