During a consular roundtable with the press on April 3, 2015 at the American Center in Ho Chi Minh City, Countrywide Consular Coordinator David McCawley announced the expansion, beginning immediately, of the U.S. Mission to Vietnam’s convenient and secure Mail-in Visa Renewal Program. The Program enables travelers to renew most non-immigrant visas via courier service, without the need – in most cases – for an in-person interview.
Applicants can enjoy the benefits of the expanded program if they meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a Vietnamese citizen or resident of Vietnam.
- Be physically present in Vietnam.
- For renewal of E, H, L P, or R visas – which are all petition-based visas – have a previous visa that is still valid or only expired within the past year (12 months).
- For all other categories of non-immigrant visas, have a previous visa that is still valid or only expired within the past four years (48 months).
- Be applying for the same visa classification as the previous visa.
Prior to April 1, 2015, applicants whose non-immigrant visas had expired within the past 24 months qualified for the Mail-in Renewal Program. Under the expanded program, those with visas that have expired within the past 48 months and who meet the criteria listed above are now able to renew by mail as well.
“We’re happy to see so many Vietnamese visiting and studying in the United States and hope more Americans will visit Vietnam,” said Countrywide Consular Coordinator McCawley at the roundtable. “Many businesses here support the government making it easier for U.S. citizens to visit Vietnam, either by eliminating the requirement for a visa for short-duration visits or extending the visa validity beyond the current three months. At the very least, we hope that the government will begin issuing tourists and short-term business travelers with visas allowing for multiple entries over 12 months, consistent with what the United States currently accords Vietnamese travelers.”
Renewals by mail are usually processed and returned to the applicant within 6-8 business days. Wait times for the first available interview appointment are typically much longer. Applicants may check the appointment wait times in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/vn/vn-niv-waittimeinfo.asp.
Additional information regarding the Mail-In Visa Renewal Program can be found at: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/vn/vn-niv-visarenew.asp.
Countrywide Consular Coordinator McCawley noted that the U.S. and China recently began issuing 10-year multiple entry visas to its respective citizens. “The U.S. has done the same with other key trading partners including Brazil. Longer-duration visas save people money in application fees and give them greater flexibility in planning their travel.”