U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke announced a new program, the Interview Waiver Pilot Program, which will allow for the renewal of B (temporary visitors for business/pleasure), C1 (transit), D (crewmembers), F (students), J (exchange visitors), M (nonacademic students), and O (visitors with extraordinary ability) visas without an interview for applicants who are:
1) Renewing their visa within 48 months of the expiration of their previously held visa, and
2) Applying for the same type of visa as their previously held visa.
The program will benefit U.S. businesses, particularly the tourism industry, and other organizations by making it easier for foreign visitors to obtain visas. For example, U.S. visa applications by Chinese citizens increased 34% last year and is up 48% from October through January over the same period last year. As countries like China and Brazil continues to develop economically, more of its citizens are seeking to visit the U.S. and ensuring a shorter visa wait times for all applicants by waiving the interview process for repeat applicants is important as demand rises.
Consular officers continue to have the authority to interview any applicant who they determine requires a personal interview.
Mr. Locke’s announcement: http://beijing.usembassy-china.org.cn/20120209amb-visa.html