When you are approved for a U.S non-immigrant visa, that visa is temporary. This means that the U.S Embassy will only give you the right to travel to the U.S for a specified period of time and that your visa expires. After the visa expires, you cannot travel to the U.S anymore without another visa.
If your visa expires, you have the chance to renew it through a similar procedure to the initial application process. However, there are some differences which will be detailed in this article on the U.S visa renewal process.
What is a renewed U.S visa?
A renewed U.S visa is essentially the same as your original visa. You had one U.S nonimmigrant visa, which expired so you want to obtain a new one of the same classification. The renewed U.S visa does not have any different conditions from the visa you had originally.
What you are allowed to do with a renewed U.S visa depends on the type of visa that it is. If you had an H-1B visa, then you are allowed to work and also apply for a Green Card, but if you had a B-1 visa or a B-2 visa, then you are only allowed to visit and not work.
You must renew your visa if the validity date has expired. Each visa stamped on your passport has a date when it was issued and a date when it is expired. Only if the expiration date has passed is it necessary to renew the visa. This should not be confused with the expiration of a passport.
If you have a valid U.S visa, but your passport is no longer valid you do not need to renew your visa. You must apply for a new passport in your country of residence and then travel to the U.S. When you travel to the U.S in this case, you must have your old passport with the valid U.S visa and your new valid passport. You will not be allowed to enter the U.S with a passport that has expired, even if your U.S visa is still valid.
If you are approved for a renewed U.S visa then it will still have a validity period. This means that it will expire again. The reason for that is that the renewed visas are U.S nonimmigrant visas which are temporary. U.S immigrant visas are permanent and therefore do not need to be renewed, so you can only renew nonimmigrant visas.
What are the requirements of the visa renewal?
After your visa expires and you decide you want to renew it, you must first check whether you are eligible to do it. There are several requirements for those who plan to renew it, and you must fulfill all of them. The requirements are as follows:
- You must renew the visa that you previously had. If you had a B-1 visa for example, you must apply to renew the B-1 visa. You cannot apply to renew a different type of visa that you did not have before.
- You must not have been denied a visa recently. This means that if after your visa was issued, you applied for a different visa and the U.S Embassy denied it, you cannot apply for a renewal of your expired visa.
- The visa you want to renew must be for multiple entries into the U.S and must have a longer validity than one year
- You must fulfill all the requirements for the visa you want to renew. This means that you must also check the requirements of the individual visa. If you had a B-1 visa and want to renew the B-1 visa, you must check that you are still eligible to have it. If you are not eligible for a B-1 visa anymore, then you will be denied the renewal application.
- Finally, you must apply for a visa renewal from your home country. When your visa expires, you must return to your country of residence and apply for a renewal from there. You cannot apply to have your visa renewed from within the U.S.
How to apply for a US visa renewal?
If you fulfill all the requirements, then you can start applying for your visa renewal. The process includes several steps as follows:
- You must make the payments of all the U.S visa fees specific to your visa. The fees are paid in a similar way to how you paid them when you first applied. If you do not pay the fees, you will be denied any further processing.
- Submit the Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You submitted this form in the beginning, and you must fill it out again. When you complete it, you will get the confirmation page and number, which you need to save for your supporting documents.
- Visit this website and create an account. When you sign in, you will get a series of questions and you must answer them as completely as possible. These questions are important because they determine whether you are eligible for a visa interview waiver. A visa interview waiver means that you do not have to appear in person at the U.S Embassy where you are applying to have your interview. You can mail in your supporting documents and passport, which will be processed and returned to you. This is convenient because you do not have to do a visa interview since you have done it before.
- Send in your supporting documents to the U.S Embassy where you are applying. If you qualified for the visa interview waiver, then you can just mail the following documents:
- Your passport which is valid for 6 months after your intended departure from the U.S
- Any previous expired passports with U.S visas in them
- Two photographs which meet the Photo Requirements. The photographs must be new and not the ones you used in your previous visa application.
- Your Form DS-160 confirmation page
- Receipts which prove you have paid all the visa fees
- You may also be required to schedule an appointment to have your fingerprints taken. You can schedule it at the U.S Embassy where you are applying for. You will go there in person, but you will not be required to go through the visa interview.
- Any other supporting documents depending on your visa type. These are documents that you have submitted previously when you applied for the first time.
If you do not qualify for the visa interview waiver, then you will also have to schedule your visa interview and attend it. The interview will be similar to the one you did when you applied for the first time.
If you qualify for the visa interview waiver, then you must mail all of the documents above to the U.S Embassy following their instructions.
How long does it take to process a U.S visa renewal?
If you are applying as part of the visa interview waiver program, then the processing time for your visa will be very short. You should expect to have an answer within around 10 days from the U.S Embassy on whether you were approved for the visa or not. Then your passport will also be mailed to you with your visa stamped on it.
However, there are situations when you must schedule an appointment with the U.S Embassy, which will change the processing time of the visa. The situations are as follows:
- If you think that you might have an ineligibility for the visa you want to renew
- If you have had a visa waiver in the past
- If you have planned urgent travelling in the next 10 days
These situations will require you to appear in person at the U.S Embassy for an interview and will either increase or decrease processing times.
How long is a U.S renewed visa valid?
A renewed visa is similar to the initial visa you got the first time. The validity period for it depends on the type of visa, and it will expire afterwards again. However, depending on the type of visa, you can renew it or extend it for a longer period of time.