Ask the Consul – March 2020

Question: I heard about the Interview Waiver process. Can you explain how this works?

Answer: Thank you for your question. Eligibility to use the Renewal Interview Waiver (RIW) or Age Interview Waiver (AIW) process is based on your responses to the online questions when you register for visa services at trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com.

The RIW and AIW applications start like any other non-immigrant visa application: you submit your DS-160 application online and pay the application fee at a Scotia Bank branch. However, if you receive an automatic notice while filling out the online DS-160 application that you qualify for RIW or AIW, then you do not need to select an appointment for an interview. Instead, the registration system will notify you that you may submit your application packet by courier to the U.S. Embassy.

For RIW, the documents you need to submit to the U.S. Embassy are:

  • the DS-160 consular application confirmation page with bar code,
  • your current passport with at least six months of validity remaining,
  • your most recent expired passport containing the most recent U.S. visa,
  • a recent (less than six months old) passport-sized photo taken against a white background and without spectacles, and
  • the courier confirmation sheet.

The AIW process allows persons who are under the age of 14 and over the age of 79 to submit their visa applications by courier.  When applying for children under the age of 14, the application package should also include a photocopy of the applicant child’s birth certificate along with photocopies of one or both of the parents’ valid U.S. visas.

As of June 1, 2019, original and photocopied documents, such as marriage or birth certificates, property documents, or vehicle ownership documents are no longer being returned to visa applicants. Therefore, it is critical that you do not send any documents other than those requested by the U.S. Embassy, because only passports will be returned.  Submitting documents not requested will slow down the processing of your application.

To avoid delays, please ensure the telephone numbers and email addresses used on the DS-160 form and on the online profile are current.

If the consular officer needs additional information, you will be contacted and advised to set up an interview appointment and bring any necessary documents. This could include civil documents, employment and bank letters.

Please note RIW and AIW are not expedited visa processes. Successful applicants will typically have their passports and U.S. visas returned to them in about three to four weeks. It is a good idea to begin the application process as early as possible, in case there are unforeseen processing delays.

We strongly recommend you wait until you receive the passport with the visa before purchasing airline tickets and making travel arrangements.

For complete instructions on this and other U.S. visa programs, please visit www.usvisa-info.com or call (868) 235-4500, Monday to Friday, during the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

If you have a question about the process or need an update on the status of an application being processed, email consularpos@state.gov. Please include the applicant’s full name and passport number with your inquiry.