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I've learned that if you have a US visa, you don't have to book an interview to renew your visa. You can just mail your documents and they send your passport back in a few weeks. I don't know the details so I wanted to post this question.

My F1 visa is currently valid on paper (it was given for 5 years but I graduated earlier and left the US)

I'd like to get a tourist visa (B-2).

Is it possible for me to get the visa without an interview?

Because of the pandemic, soonest interview is given 12+ months later here. So it would be great if I qualify for an interview waiver. Maybe I should call the embassy and ask?

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The process you are referring to is the "Visa Renewal by Mail Program".

This process is only available if you are applying for the same visa type as you currently have. There are also a number of other requirements which vary slightly depending on the country you are in.

As you are looking to move from an F-1 visa to a B-2 visa, then you do not quality to use this program.

You should be able to find more details of this program on either the US Consulate website or the US Visa application website for the country you are in. As an example, here are the relevant pages for Thailand and Australia.

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    I can confirm from personal experience that this answer is correct. My wife and I tried to submit an application on behalf of her mother for a B-2 visa, and we could not get the system to stop requiring a scheduled appointment. Then we realized that her previous visa was a B-1/B-2 visa, we changed the application type to B-1/B-2, and suddenly the interview waiver was possible.
    – phoog
    Jun 19, 2021 at 18:39
  • @phoog Do you schedule appointment after you pay the MRV fee? I can go ahead and apply but by the interview time I'd probably be a resident in a different country, which makes the application invalid I think
    – user120504
    Jun 19, 2021 at 20:19
  • @user120504 The process varies from country to country, although in most countries now days you do need to pay the fee before booking the appointment, yes.
    – Doc
    Jun 19, 2021 at 20:21
  • Ok. Embassy requires applicants to be local residents. I wonder if that would be a problem if I become a resident in another country after I set an interview date.
    – user120504
    Jun 19, 2021 at 20:24

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