Steps to get US Visa Renewed
What is a U.S. Visa?
Any individual who is a citizen of a foreign country and wishes to seek entry into the United States needs to first get a US visa which is stamped in the individual’s passport.
However, certain individuals might be permitted to arrive in the US without a visa but that is only if they meet the criteria and requirements for visa-free travel.
How to get a US visa renewed?
Renewal of US visa means you need to go through the whole visa application process as per the requirements stated by the US government. It is the same even for applying for a new visa and also if your visa is still valid. But in some cases like for non-immigrant renewals, you may not be required to give an interview again.
The following steps are used for the visa renewal process (non-immigrant US visa):
STEP 1– Apply online and fill the DS-160 form which is the Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application. Once done filling the form, print it and save the confirmation page along with the bar code.
STEP 2– Your next step would be to register yourself an account on the US Embassy’s secure portal. You will have to read, answer carefully, and follow the steps correctly to get an appointment for an interview. If your answer is ‘YES’ to all the points on the interview waiver checklist, you stand a chance of getting your interview waived off. This is most likely to happen if your previous visa class matches the same one your applying for, your visa which you recently issued was in India and you received it after 2008 among others. Another reason you stand a chance of your interview-getting waivered off is if you are below 14years or above 80years of age.
STEP 3– Next is to make the payment for the visa fee. They will ask you to do it online from a bank account. The fee amount will depend on the visa category you are applying for.
STEP 4– If your interview is waived off, you will then receive a submission letter along with a document checklist. Print the appointment letter and along with your passport, the appointment letter, DS-160, and a photo clicked within the last 6months, you will have to drop it off at any one of the 11 service centers in India on that particular date scheduled for you anytime between 10 am-4 pm.
Your documents will be reviewed before your renewal application can be accepted by the staff at the VFS center. You will be notified by email if any extra information is required from you. Once your application is approved, your passport along with your visa will be delivered and it will be picked up at the Document Collection center which you have selected.
You can easily renew your US visa even after it expires. Also, there is no need of waiting. You can do it even when your current visa is still valid. You can apply for a new visa but make sure to check if it is valid at the time you are entering the US. Sometimes, you will be called for an interview at the Consulate in cases like if you submit an inaccurate or incomplete application. In case of an interview, you need to appear at the post where your application was submitted. There are chances that a visa interview will be necessary. Hence, it is a must to submit your application well in advance in terms of your planned travel.
It takes around 7-10 business days to renew the visa from the date of document submission.
Since the cost is the same as the application for a new one, the cost for a non-immigrant visa is 160 USD. However, the charges vary for different categories of visa types. The price will be mentioned at the time of payment. If your application gets rejected, the visa application fee must be paid and the fee is entirely non-refundable and non-transferable.
According to the RBI rules, all Indian banks are closed on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, and that will affect the US visa fee payment system.
Since March 20th, 2020 the US Consulate was closed due to the pandemic Covid-19.
Since September 1st, 2020, the US visa renewal process has been resumed again. The applicants eligible for the renewal of the visa are required to schedule an appointment at the VFS center to drop off the passport and visa application with documents at one out of the 11 locations. But only a limited number of visa appointments are given. Employment-based visa processing hasn’t begun yet. Any emergency appointment requests can’t be made 2weeks before the appointment date due to the current capacity.
There are dropbox facilities to drop off for renewals of non-immigrant visa categories at different centers across India. A list of drop-off locations is available on the website. Also, US student visa appointments are available on the website. The visa fee validity is extended up to 31st December 2021. Only processing of visas for spouses and children of US citizens has been resumed as of now.
There are no more repatriation flights from India. The US Embassy has stopped organizing them. There are restrictions on onboarding based on citizenship and residency status. The Embassy has no authority and the traveler needs to contact the airline directly regarding this. Visas of nationals and of people who are stranded here which are expired or will expire may be extended after an online application is made.
US citizens who want to come to India need to apply at the nearest Indian Consulate in their place. Due to current circumstances, only certain types of emergency visas are currently being issued. You also need to gather the accurate information required about the Covid-19 quarantine requirements. Make sure if a Covid-19 certificate is needed stating you are negative after you have taken a test.
The Embassy is doing all it can to speed up the processing of visas. However, keeping the safety of their staff in mind they are working on visas with only certain categories and priority basis. If you require any kind of visa service or seek any information regarding certain visas, emergency visas, student visas, other guidelines, etc. make sure to visit the official website.