Note: I don't think this is a duplicate of the similar existing questions; read the question till the end before marking it as a duplicate.

According to USTravelDocs, one can renew their US visa with no interview if the visa expired within 11 months of its expiration, provided certain additional conditions are met. Is it acceptable to register for document drop off (in a consulate in my home country where I originally obtained the visa) when I'm still present in the US? I'd like to travel to my home country only for a short period of time and I would like to make sure I have an available drop off appointment reserved. I'm confused because many sources, including the official USTravelDocs portal in Egypt say that it's an okay thing to do:

You do not have to wait until you return to your home country to schedule your visa interview.

However, the official USTravelDocs portal in Russia says:

You must be present in the Russian Federation

My home country is Russia, and the lines for interviews and document drop off are gigantic in view of the recent events on deportation of the US officials from Russia and in view of the fact that many consulates were closed. So if I only fill out the application when I'm in Russia, I'm afraid I may have to wait several months to schedule document drop off (even if I choose an expedited process).

Before booking an appointment, I'm asked to verify that all of the following is true from a certain list of conditions they provide, and one of the items in the list says "I'm currently not in the US". Should I ignore that?

  • 1
    It shouldn't matter where you are when you schedule it, only that you're in the appropriate country when it comes time to do the drop off/attend the appointment. Aug 20 '18 at 6:56
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas I disagree. You’re supposed to fill an application to be accurate as at the time you’re submitting, not based on some future conditionality. I cannot for example state I have travel experience when applying for one country because in between submission of application and the interview I plan to visit another country. The future is unknown and variable. Aug 20 '18 at 9:10
  • 1
    That has nothing to do with scheduling an appointment. Aug 20 '18 at 12:31
  • 4
    After a call to the US embassy in Moscow, two different people said that it is okay to schedule an appointment while in the US (I did mention that I'm required to confirm that I'm not in the US; they only said to make sure I'll be in Moscow during the appointment).
    – user77409
    Aug 24 '18 at 22:55
  • 1
    @user77409 that's a very valuable answer from calling the US embassy in Moscow. Please post it as an answer on this page.
    – krubo
    Aug 25 '18 at 3:38

As suggested in the comments, posting my comment as an answer.

After a call to the US embassy in Moscow, two different people said that it is okay to schedule an appointment while in the US (I did mention that I'm required to confirm that I'm not in the US; they only said to make sure I'll be in Moscow during the appointment).

  • Perhaps you should accept this answer.
    – phoog
    Sep 27 '18 at 14:22

According to the US Embassy & Consulates in Russia website:

All Non-immigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia were suspended beginning August 23, 2017. Non-immigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The website also covers why you need an interview for nonimmigrant visas here:

  • Q: Why do I need an interview for a nonimmigrant visa?
  • A: The interview is a legal U.S. requirement that applies worldwide.


  • Diplomats and official government travel (including UN, other international organizations, and diplomats in transit).
  • Renewal within same class of visa within one year of expiration (consular officer discretion – may require interview).

The exception does not apply to applicants who are applying for a different type of nonimmigrant visa. They must be interviewed.

As you have mentioned, there is an interview waiver submission process, but you must meet the qualifications, which are:

  • All ten fingerprints were captured at a prior consular interview
  • For holders of B1/B2 (tourist), I (journalist), or C1/D (crew) visas: Your most recent visa was issued after November 6, 2007 and is currently valid or you are applying within 11 months of the expiration of that visa. OR For holders of all other types of visas: Your previous visa is currently valid or you are reapplying within 11 months of the expiration of your previous visa.
  • You are applying for the exact same type of visa as your current/previous visa
  • Your visa does not have Clearance Received annotated on it
  • You must be present in the Russian Federation

You will need an interview in Russia, unless you have an extra set of circumstances you did not provide in your question.

  • 1
    This answer seems speculative to me, so we can also speculate the other way: OP meets all the requirements for the interview waiver submission process except for being present in the Russian Federation, and is going to be present in the Russian Federation at the date scheduled. Maybe that's good enough for the interview waiver?
    – krubo
    Aug 25 '18 at 3:36
  • @krubo read the answer above. You must be present in Russia. My answer was not speculative, it provided the clear requirements and are completely and 100% factual.
    – AussieJoe
    Aug 27 '18 at 15:03

You can’t get a US Visa from inside the USA. If you want to extend your stay, you can apply for an extension or change of status as applicable to your case.

As for the application, yes you can apply for an interview whilst you’re in the US. There’s no restrictions on this. Answer all questions truthfully. You may also be able to schedule appointments in Canada or the Caribbean. This is quite common for people on H1-Bs, who want to get their status extended after the first 3 years.(It must however be noted that the consulates in countries other than your country of residence are not required to process your application, in practice they will entertain your application as long as you’re in that country legally but the officer could deny your application and request that you setup an appointment in your country of residence)

  • 1
    The question is referring to the "Renewal by Mail" option for US visas. You haven't provided anything that says you can't apply for such a renewal whilst inside the US.
    – Doc
    Aug 24 '18 at 22:26

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