Ask the Consul
The U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo announces significant changes to nonimmigrant visa processing rules, effective immediately
February 27, 2012
Under a new initiative announced by President Obama on January 19, in select circumstances, qualified foreign visitors who were interviewed and thoroughly screened in conjunction with a prior visa application may be eligible to renew their visas without undergoing another interview. This pilot program permits consular officers to waive interviews for qualified nonimmigrant applicants worldwide who are renewing their visa within 48 months of the expiration of their previously held visa, and within the same classification as the previous visa.
To implement this initiative, Embassy Santo Domingo announces the following changes to its visa processing procedures. First, nonimmigrant visa applicants will now be able to renew without interview any multiple-entry B1/B2 visa that has expired within the last four years. Previously, only visas that expired within the last year within the same category, qualified for renewal.
Second, the current policy is that only B1/B2 visas that are valid for at least five years are eligible for renewal. Now, any B1/B2 visa that has multiple entries can be submitted for renewal without interview. The applicant must not have been denied a visa since issuance.
Third, applicants still must make an appointment for a renewal, except for l any child under 14 renewing a B1/B2 visa, or an applicant 80 years of age or older, whose applications can be submitted on their behalf at the Nonimmigrant Visa Section Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday afternoons from 2:00 to 3:00 PM. An applicant, who has a multiple entry B1/B2 visa that expired less than four years ago, can make an appointment to renew the visa. If the visa was issued after 2007 in the U.S. consulate in Santo Domingo (and all ten fingerprints were taken), that applicant may be able to apply to renew his or her visa without interview and without retaking their fingerprints but the applicant must appear personally to apply for a new visa. Please remember that a consular officer may call in for interview any applicant who is renewing his or her visa.