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Myths about consular process for US visas — Part V

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By Michael Phulwani and David H. Nachman

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions that people have relating to the US visas. This is especially the case for India, who applies for visas and receives random denials on bases of 221(g) & 214(b). This is part V of the series of articles about the common myths that relate to various types of visa processing.

If you have traveled in the past to countries other than the US then you will automatically get the US visa.

Fact: Not true. The US visa requires that the applicant meet certain qualifying criteria. Once these criteria have been met, then the visa will be issued to the applicant. Just because you have visas for other countries or that you have visited other countries prior to an application for your US visa, it does not mean that your case for the US visa is any stronger. However, it should be noted that the Consular Officials may be more inclined within the time permitted to issue the visa if the applicant has traveled to other countries, (such as Canada or European countries) and then returned to their home country.

If you had a US visa in the past, obtaining a renewal of that visa is guaranteed.

Fact: This is a myth. It is not necessarily the case that your US visa will be automatically renewed. The visa may not be granted if a renewal is sought if the conditions and situation surrounding the applicant have, for some reason, changed. Each time that a visa applicant applies for a visa, the visa applicant must be able to provide facts and circumstances that warrant the issuance of the visa. If, for example, the visa applicant overstayed his/her visa or the applicant acquired a criminal record, or violated some other visa rule any other rules, such circumstances may have an adverse impact upon a next or subsequent visa application.

Recently, the DOS an-nounced a new pilot program to waive the nonimmigrant visa interview requirement for certain nonimmigrant visa renewals. Under the program, slated to run for two years, certain visa renewals that are more than 12 months but less than 48 months post-expiration will be eligible for renewal without a consular interview for the same visa category.

The visa interview waiver is available to foreign nationals, who have previously had their 10-print fingerprint scan collected. The new program will not be available to visa applicants, who were previously denied a visa or who were or are listed in the Consular Lookout and Support System.

(CLASS) or require a Security Advisory Opinion. The interview waiver will not be available to visa applicants, who may have failed to comply with US immigration laws or who are applying in a “high-threat” or “high-fraud” location for Consulate processing. Again, it should be noted that only certain types of visas are eligible for this benefit.

The American Embassy in New Delhi recently posted information on their Web site about the new pilot program to waive the nonimmigrant visa interview requirement for certain nonimmigrant visa renewals as follows:

l Under a new initiative, 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; and;

l This pilot program permits Consular Officers to waive interviews for qualified nonimmigrant applicants worldwide, who are renewing their B-1/B-2 visas within forty-eight (48) months of the expiration of their previously held visa, and within the same classification as the previous visa; and;

l Our embassies and consulates have been instructed to begin implementing this pilot program immediately; and.

This pilot program does not entitle any applicant to a waiver of personal appearance. Consular Officers will retain the authority to interview any applicant, who they determine requires a personal appearance.

We believe that the Interview Waiver Pilot Program has been implemented by all the consular posts in India. It is not clear what special or additional parameters may be placed on the program by each Consulate Office. We highly recommend that visa applicants check the websites for the various Consulate Offices to check about the implementation requirements of the new pilot program.

We wish to advise our readers that Attorneys Michael Phulwani and David Nach-man will be visiting India and available for meetings in January/February 2013.

For more information, please feel free to contact the immigration and nationality lawyers at the NPZ Law Group at 201-670-0006 or by e-mailing us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

— To be continued...