If you had a US visa which expired, you can apply for US visa renewal. You will receive the same type of US visa again, provided you still fulfil the conditions.
Am I Eligible to Renew My US Visa?
You can apply for US visa renewal if:
- You want to renew a visa you previously had. So, if you had a B2 visa, you can only apply for B2 visa renewal.
- The US Embassy did not deny a recent visa application from you. If, after your visa expired, you applied for another US visa and that application was rejected, you cannot apply for renewal.
- You will renew a US visa with multiple entries, and with a validity of more than 1 year.
- You still fulfil the requirements for the visa you are trying to renew. See the US visa types and their requirements.
- You are applying for US visa renewal from your home country. You cannot apply for renewal if you are still in the US.
- Your visa expired between less than 48 months ago. Sometimes visas that expired more than 48 months ago are also eligible.
Required Documents for US Visa Renewal
When renewing your US visa, you will have to submit similar documents to your initial visa application:
- Your passport. It has to be valid for at least another six months from the time you plan to leave the US.
- Any previous passports that have an expired US visa in them.
- Two passport-size pictures, in line with the US visa photo requirements. Not the same ones you used in your original application.
- The printout of Form DS-160 confirmation page.
- Proof you have paid the US visa fee (the receipt).
- Any other documents based on the US visa you want to renew.
Applying for US Visa Renewal
The process to renew a US visa is nearly the same as when you first applied for it. You have to:
- Complete the online application form (Form DS-160).
- Schedule an interview appointment at the US Embassy/Consulate.
- Pay the US Visa Renewal Fee.
- Submit the required documents for US visa renewal.
- Enter the visa renewal interview.
Please note: Some aspects of the application procedure may differ in chronology depending on which country you are renewing your US visa. For example, for US visa renewal in the Philippines, you pay the fee first, then, you complete the application form and make an appointment, whereas in India you only pay the fee after scheduling an appointment.
Complete Form DS-160 for US Visa Renewal
The application form for US visas is called Form DS-160, and it is the same online form for all non-immigrant visas and US visa renewals. You can complete Form DS-160 in one of the following methods:
- Through the Consular Electronic Application Center. You have to complete the application yourself, although someone may help you if you need help with the language. The application must be completed in English, using only English language characters.
- By using the services of a third-party company such as VisaExpress.They guide and help you through the application process. If you are nervous about completing the DS-160, such companies are beneficial because they are used to dealing with Embassies and Consulates, and are well-informed regarding the application process and required documents.
When you complete the application, you will be redirected to a confirmation page. You should print this page and bring it with you to the interview and when you submit the documents. Basically, you need the confirmation page at any stage of the US visa renewal process.
Schedule an Interview Appointment
In order to schedule an appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate in your country, you must visit their website. They should have their phone number listed along with instructions on how exactly you should proceed.
The US Department of State also has an online server for scheduling interviews (here). If you already registered there the first time you applied for a visa, you don’t have to re-register. Your log-in information is saved.
The procedure for scheduling an interview appointment can change depending on the country, however, so before anything, make sure you contact the Embassy and get all the relevant information. You can find a list of the US Embassies and Consulates around the world here.
Pay the US Visa Renewal Fee
Before you enter the US visa renewal interview and submit your completed application, you have to pay the US visa fee. This fee is non-refundable, regardless of the outcome of your application, and you can pay it in one of the following methods:
- At a bank in cash, using a receipt that you download online
- By debit card (online)
- When you appear for your interview at the Embassy, you pay the fee in cash
The method of payment will depend on the country you are applying from. The timing of the payment will also depend on the country you are from. In some cases, you have to pay the fee before anything else because you need the fee receipt to complete the DS-160 application.
Submit the Documents/Enter the Interview
There are usually three options regarding document submission and the US visa renewal interview:
- You submit the documents and enter the interview at the US Embassy, but on different days.
- You submit the documents at the US Embassy on the day of your interview.
- You submit the documents at a Visa Application Center, and then enter the visa interview at the US Embassy.
This means you may need two different appointments, one for documentation and the other for the interview. The US Embassy in your country should provide you with this information. Sometimes, when you renew a US visa, you don’t have to enter an interview.
US Visa Renewal Interview
After you submit your documents for visa renewal, you have to go to the US embassy and sit for an interview with a visa officer. They will ask you questions about your trip, the reason you are applying for the visa, as well as more personal information, such as your salary and relationships. They will ask you anything that will help them make a decision.
US Visa Renewal Interview Waiver
If you are applying for the renewal of a B-1/B-2, C-1/D, F, J, M, or O visa, you may qualify for the interview waiver. This means you simply submit the documents at the Embassy or Visa Application Center, and wait to be notified about the outcome.
Inquire with the Visa Application Center or the US Embassy about the possibility of an interview waiver.
How Long Does the US Visa Renewal Process Take?
The processing time for a US visa depends on the specific visa you’re applying for. It can take anywhere from a few days, to a few months. Another thing that affects visa processing time is the time of year when you apply (i.e. the Embassy’s workload), and whether or not you enter an interview.
Sometimes, the visa officers will inform you about the outcome of your application as soon as your visa interview ends. Other times, you go home after the interview and wait to be notified.
What Is the Validity of a Renewed US Visa?
In most cases, you will receive a new visa with the same validity and conditions as your expired visa.
What if Your US Visa Renewal Application Is Denied?
If your renewal application is denied, the US consular services will inform you about the reason for denial. Most often, applications for US visas are rejected because of incomplete documentation or because they are suspicious of the applicant’s intent in the US.