The State Department has suspended the Visa Interview Waiver
Program, which allows certain repeat visa applicants to forego in-person
The move was part of a broader set of actions included in
President Donald Trump's Jan 27th executive order.
The Department of Homeland Security said that the order
included the immediate suspension of the program, which allows frequent
visitors to the U.S. to bypass in-person interviews with a U.S. consular
officer when they need to renew a travel visa. The length of visas varies,
depending on the individual and their country.
The program launched in 2012 on the heels of President Obama's
strategy to increase inbound travel and tourism. Piloted in China, it applied
to people who were renewing visas within 48 months of the expiration of their
previous visa, and within the same classification. It was made permanent in
Consular officers at the time said that the program would
save applicants both time and money and allow them to travel to the United
States more frequently, and would also free up consular resources to focus more
on first-time applicants.
The Visa Interview Waiver Program is separate from the Visa
Waiver Program, which allows citizens of 38 partner countries to apply to enter
the U.S. without a visa for visits of up to 90 days.