Q: My B1/B2 visa recently expired and I understand that there is an expedited renewal procedure that does not require me to have an interview. What exactly is the Kingston Interview Waiver Programme and who qualifies for it?
A: The Kingston Interview Waiver Programme (KIWP) allows certain applicants to forego the personal interview when renewing their visa. Qualified applicants must appear in person at US Embassy Kingston for initial data intake and fingerprinting, but do not need to be interviewed by a consular officer. However, the applicant may need to return to the embassy for an interview if the information in the application is incomplete or if there are questions regarding the applicant's previous use of a visa or future intent.
In order to qualify, the applicant must meet the ALL the following requirements:
* The applicant must be renewing the same class of visa as the prior visa was issued for its full validity. In other words, a B-1/B-2 with a 10-year validity can be entered in the KIWP for a new B-1/B-2, or a C1/D with the full five-year validity can be entered in the KIWP for a new C1/D.
* The previous visa must still be valid or must have expired no more than 12 months before the date of the scheduled renewal appointment. Therefore, an individual with a visa that expired on Dec 1, 2011, can enter into the KIWP up until Nov 30, 2012. If they wish to apply after November 30, 2012, an interview with a consular officer will be required.
* The applicant must be a resident of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands or Guantanamo Bay.
* The applicant must not have any immigration violations or criminal offences.
Currently, H2-B temporary non-agriculture workers, H1-B specialty occupation workers, O and P performers, and employment-based J visas other than Summer Work Travel are not eligible for the KIWP.
An applicant wanting to partake in the programme must make their appointment under the KIWP category. It is not possible for an applicant to make a regular visa appointment and request to be placed under the KIWP on the day of their appointment at the embassy. Conversely, individuals who do not qualify for the KIWP, but who make attempts to be so facilitated, will be turned away and must repay the scheduling fee to make a new appointment by phone or online at their own expense.
No emergency appointments are available for individuals wishing to participate in the KIWP. Approved non-immigrant visas will be delivered directly to applicants through DHL typically four business days after the date of the embassy appointment.
Additional information regarding the KIWP and how to make an appointment can be found at: http://kingston.usembassy.gov/interviewwaiver.html
Reminder for US Citizens: The 2012 election season is underway in the United States. To register to vote from abroad or to sign up to receive state-specific election alerts, visit http://fvap.gov. You may drop off your voting materials with postage affixed at the US Embassy in Kingston or at the US Consular Agencies in Montego Bay and the Cayman Islands for delivery to the United States.
For more information about American Citizen Services, please visit our website, http://kingston.usembassy.gov/service.html. For safety and security measures, the US Embassy asks that all individuals arrive at the embassy or Consular Agency no more than 15 minutes before their designated appointment time.