US visa renewal guide
Renewing your US visa means you want to stay in the US under the same classification of visa. To be eligible, you must continue to satisfy the requirements of that visa category under US immigration law.
Different visas operate with different maximum durations, which won’t necessarily align to the visa petition approval period granted by the Embassy. This can give rise to complications at the point of visa extension. Take advice on your circumstances to ensure you are considering all of the factors at play to secure your extension.
You also need to ensure you make your application in good time, and certainly before your current visa expires.
In this guide, we outline the general process for US visa renewals and the key considerations to help avoid issues and delays with the renewal process.
Are you eligible to renew?
You can apply for renewal if you were lawfully admitted into the US with a nonimmigrant visa, your visa status remains valid and you must also not have committed any crimes that make you ineligible for a visa or have violated the conditions of your admission.
You also need to be on an immigration category that permits renewals. The following immigration categories are not eligible for renewal:
- Visa Waiver Program
- D visa (crew member)
- C visa (in transit)
- TWOV (in transit without visa)
- K visa (fiancé of US citizen or dependent of a fiancé)
- S visa (informant and accompanying family)
When do I need to renew my visa?
The date your authorized stay expires is shown on your Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, which will include your admission date, the class of admission and your admitted-until date or ‘duration of status’ (D/S).
The time between visa issuance and expiration is known as your ‘visa validity’. This is the length of time you are permitted to travel to the United States to apply to gain entry at the port of entry.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port of entry have authority to permit or deny your admission to the United States and will also determine the length of your authorised stay each time you attempt to enter the country, as stated by the admission stamp on your Form I-94.
Depending on your nationality, a US visa can be issued from a single entry application up to multiple or unlimited entries. A visa issued for a single entry is valid from the date it is issued until the date it expires, and can be used to travel to a US port of entry on one occasion.
A visa issued for multiple entries is valid from the date of issue to the date it expires to travel to a US port of entry as many times as your visa allows, although multiple uses must be for the same purpose of travel permitted under your visa.
Under a multiple entry visa, you will need to apply to renew your visa once the ‘valid until’ date on your Form I-94 expires or you have exceeded the number of permitted entries.
What is the process for US visa renewal?
Applying for US visa renewal involves filing a petition using the DS 160 form and submitting supporting documentation, in the same way as with your initial visa application. Renewals are made at a US Consular post overseas, usually in your country of residence.
You may have to attend a visa interview to discuss your application, unless you qualify for a visa interview waiver, which allows you to submit your passport and supporting documentation by post without having to attend at a Consular post. You may be eligible for the interview waiver if you are applying to renew your J, O or P visa and you meet various conditions including being a UK resident applying from the UK with a US visa issued in London or Belfast, passing the background security check and having already submitted fingerprints.
Renewal application supporting documents
You should approach your renewal in the same way as your initial visa application. Your supporting documents are required to prove you meet the visa conditions and to comply with the process requirements. This includes providing your valid passport with at least 6 months after your planned departure from the US, photograph, your latest DS-160 confirmation page and payment receipt, along with any other documents to evidence your eligibility for your visa category.
How much does it cost to renew a US visa?
You will need to pay an application fee to renew your visa. For petition-based visas such as H and O classifications, the fee is currently $190.00 while for E visas it is $205.00.
Remember to print off the payment confirmation page to take to your visa appointment.
How long does the US visa renewal process take?
The US visa renewal process can take several months for processing. The delay is usually in waiting for your visa interview appointment.
If you qualify for the visa interview waiver, processing times for visa renewals will be considerably shorter. You could expect to have a decision within a few weeks on whether you have been approved for your renewed visa.
What if my visa is valid but my passport has expired?
It is possible to travel with a valid visa within an expired passport. You will also need to have your new, valid passport to present at the port of entry.
As specialists in US immigration, NNU’s London-based attorneys can advise on the process for applying to extend your US visa. We can advise on the specifics of eligibility and petitioning in relation to your visa category and specific circumstances, including consideration of any maximum visa duration that may apply under your visa class.
Contact us for guidance on your US visa renewal.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.