Effective immediately, persons seeking to renew their United States visas will no longer be required to go through an interview process, as long as they do not wait a full year to do so.
The announcement was made by US Ambassador Joseph Mondello at the Buccoo Integrated Facility, Buccoo, Tobago at 11.30 this morning.
The ambassador said the new policy would require renewed visa applicants to simply send in the required documents for processing.
He said it would be especially beneficial for residents of Tobago, who currently have to travel to Trinidad to have the interview done.
This applies to non-immigrant B1, B2 or B1/B2 tourist visas.
The Renewal Interview Waiver will be applicable to those whose visas expired within a period of a year from the time they are seeking to renew, or who have visas expiring.
Persons who wait more than a year from the expiration of their visa to seek a renewal, will then be required to be interviewed again.
The interview process for first-time visa applications has not changed.
The normal payment at Scotiabank will still be required.
Following Mondello's announcement, the Embassy issued the following statement:
"U.S. Embassy Port of Spain has introduced a new visa initiative – the Renewal Interview Waiver (RIW) – which creates new conveniences for Trinbagonians renewing their non-immigrant B1, B2, or B1/B2 “tourist” visas.
“The Renewal Interview Waiver will especially help with the renewal of visas for individuals living in Tobago, as they have traditionally had to travel to Trinidad using the air and sea bridge,” stated Ambassador Joseph N. Mondello. “But not having to schedule an interview to renew one’s visa represents a benefit and convenience for all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”
The Renewal Interview Waiver is applicable to Trinbagonians whose visas have expired within the last year, or who have valid visas that will be expiring. First-time applicants or those whose visas expired more than a year ago are still required to schedule an interview.
Similar to the current Age Interview Waivers offered to those under the age of 14 or over the age of 79, applicants renewing visas are now required only to complete the online application form at https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-TT/niv/, pay the fee at Scotiabank, and send in the application packet via courier. The online visa application will automatically advise applicants if they qualify for the Interview Waiver, but applicants may opt out if their travel needs are very urgent.
The only documents necessary for the Renewal Interview Waiver are the application form, a passport photo less than six months old, a valid passport, and the previous B1/B2 visa. If the previous visa is in an expired passport, the applicant must send in both the current and old passports.