Getting a valid US visa is a daunting process. The process of renewing your visa feels just as overwhelming. Many questions pop into one’s mind regarding how to go about it when to start the application, and so on… However, the visa renewal process is the same as that for obtaining a US visa. Here’s how you can apply for your US visa renewal in a hassle-free manner.
According to the type of visa you apply for, the duration of your US visa varies. US tourist visa is valid for a period of 10 years; however, you can only stay for maximum 6 months each time you enter the USA. During the renewal of your US visa, you can only renew the type of visa that you currently hold. You cannot change the type of visa you need to travel to the US. If you had a valid B1/B2-type tourist visa for the US, then you can renew that visa only. When you realise your US tourist visa validity is about to expire, you can begin by following the steps below:
- The first step is to determine if you qualify for a US visa renewal. The US visa renewal procedure considers your visa history before renewing and will not allow any visa renewal request if you received another rejection after your first visa approval. The visa you are renewing must be multiple entry and you should start planning the renewal at least a year before your visa expires since US Embassy can reject renewals if there is less than one year left on the current visa. If your visa validity has less than a year to expire, you will have to apply for renewal after it has expired. You must qualify for all the same requirements that made you eligible for a US visa when you applied for the first time. Furthermore, you can only renew a US visa outside of the US. It means you must leave the USA and get your visa renewed in your home country.
- Once you determine whether you are eligible for a renewal, you can submit an application for a US non-immigrant visa – Form DS-160. Take a printout of the acknowledgment of application submission. Before submitting your application, make sure there are no errors or omissions.
- When submitting your online US visit visa application form, you will also need to upload a photograph. The photo requirement is the same as before when you applied for a US visa. Uploaded digital images should have a minimum dimension of 600 x 600 pixels and a maximum dimension of 1000 x 1000 pixels. The photograph must be recent, taken within the last six months, and must be in colour. It should be in JPEG format with a file size not exceeding 240 kb.
- Scheduling an interview with the US Embassy is the next step. Some applicants may not be required to attend an interview by the US Embassy. Children under the age of 13 and applicants over the age of 80 do not require to attend an interview. If you are eligible for an interview waiver, then you should select a date to submit documentation and pay the non-refundable US visa fees. You will have to schedule an appointment with the US Embassy if you are requested to appear for an interview.
- Gathering your documents is one of the most important step of your US visa application. However, since you have already applied for a US visa before and are renewing it, you will have to keep the same documentation, carry a valid passport that will not expire before 6 months from arrival in the US, any expired passports with previous US visas in them, and extra copies of your photographs as per specifications mentioned in the US visa guidelines. Visa documentation must include the confirmation page of your US visa application, the receipt of your US visa fee payment and any other documents needed to obtain a travel visa, such as financial statements, reason for travel, etc.
- If you are not granted an interview waiver, attend the interview at the US Embassy and submit all the documentation for verification. Following this step, all you need to do is wait for your US visa application result.
To sum it up, there is no specific visa renewal form or procedure for a US visa. Basically, it is a do-over of the normal visa processing for US visit visas. Since you have been through it once, you will have a pretty good idea about the drill and you will ease through it without any problem. If you are in doubt, you can always consult an expert visa consultant who can help you navigate the visa process efficiently and without stress.