If you have an expired (within 12 months) or expiring US Visa, you may be able to renew it without having to schedule an interview with the US Embassy.
I just got our passports back and ta-da!
That’s all via dropbox and it’s super easy! I’ll walk you through how.
To qualify for the interview waiver, the applicant must answer YES to all items:
- I have a previous B1/B2 visa that I wish to renew.
- My visa was issued after July 1, 2007.
- My prior visa was valid for at least five years.
- My prior B1/B2 visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months
- I am a citizen of the Philippines.
- My prior visa does not say “Clearance Received” or “Travel with Employer”.
- I have my passport with my B1/B2 visa in my possession.
- My most recent visa was issued on or after my 14th birthday.
- The last time I applied for a B1/B2 visa it was approved.
- My name, date of birth and gender on my last B1/B2 visa do not need to be changed or corrected. [NEW UPDATE]
Step 1: Fill up DS-160 Form
- Be sure to note down your application ID and answer to your secret question so you can retrieve your application should you need to.
- Fill up the form accurately. The form is lengthy with questions about your travel plans, previous trips, work/educational background, and security checks. Rest if you have to. You can always retrieve the form again and continue where you left off.
- Supply all the names that you go by. This is especially important if you are going from maiden name to married name and vice versa. Also, if your name has a native character like Ñ, it goes under the field Name in Native Alphabet.
- Double check all information entered. My computer was set to auto-fill so some of the items it entered were incomplete or incorrect. Make sure to review the information before signing and submitting.
- Test your photo. At the end of the form is a photo upload tool that lets you check if the photo you are submitting follows their requirements. Take advantage of it so that you’re sure that your photo is acceptable.
- Once you’ve submitted the form, print the confirmation page.
- Each applicant must have his/her own form.
Step 2: Pay the Visa Fee
- Follow the link above to get a receipt form, which you will bring to the bank to pay.
- Payment can be made via BPI deposit or online via Bancnet or BPI Online Banking.
- Each applicant must have his/her own unique receipt number.
- The B1/B2 Visa fee is $160 or P8480.
- Write the applicant’s name and birthday on the upper part of the receipt for the bank to use.
- The teller will return the lower part of the receipt, do not lose this.
Step 3: Create/Login to your CGI Federal Account
- If you already have an account from previous applications, simply login with your email address and password. Otherwise, create a new account.
- Do not create multiple accounts. If the system detects that you have an account with them already, it will ask you to consolidate your accounts and submit your passport for verification.
- You only need one account per family. I made an account for the husband and then added myself as a dependent. It will need your passport details and your DS-160 confirmation number.
- There will then be questions about your qualification for the dropbox/interview waiver. You and your dependents must be able to answer YES to all the questions to qualify.
- There is one question towards the end about no changes in name there that might stop you if you are an applicant with a maiden surname changing to a married surname. I got my old US visa before I got married so it still bears my maiden name. Now that I’m married though, the new visa has to also reflect my married name so it is a change name, right? I actually stopped my application and had to research about it. It turns out that I still qualify because I indicated in my DS-160 form my maiden name as my other name. Whew! – [March 2019 UPDATE]: With the new requirement (Qualification #10 above), those that need to change name will not be eligible for the dropbox.
- When you’ve answered Yes to everything, you will be led to the Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter. Print this out.
Step 4: Ensure that you have all the Requirements
- Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter (from Step 3)
- DS-160 Confirmation Page (from Step 1)
- ALL Passports since your last US Visa.
- 2 Recent 2×2 Photos that meet the Photo Requirements. Your application will be returned if the photos submitted are not allowed. You will have to drop it again at a 2GO branch, at no extra charge though.
- Proof of Payment (from Step 2)
Note: You might want to take photos of your passports and visas, just so you’d have a soft copy, before you send it off.
Step 5: Drop it off at any 2GO Express Outlet
[Jan 2022 Update]: Their partner courier is now LBC.
Once you’ve packed all the requirements in Step 4 in an envelope, bring it to any 2GO Express branch near you. You’d be given a form like this.
Fill up your name, address, passport number and UID number (the barcode in the Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter). Each applicant has to fill up one form, even if you are applying as a family.
The staff will then put your entire envelope in their pouch and send you off with your waybill. You don’t have to pay anything for this.
Step 6: Wait for your Passports to be Delivered
It’s a very quick wait actually.
I dropped off ours on Wednesday evening so it was dispatched the next day because it was already after their cut-off time. By Monday, I already received an email and a text message saying that it was already picked up from the US Embassy. It arrived on our doorstep on Tuesday, so that’s just 3 working days.
If you will not be there to receive the passports, do make sure to leave a proper authorization letter and ID. The 2GO personnel was very strict in checking for IDs as they have to note it down in their waybills.