On 1 July 2012, the United States introduced a new Interview Waiver Program for tourist visa applicants. The program will only be available for certain types of non-immigrant visa categories. It will allow qualified applicants to receive a visa for the United States without attending a formal interview at a US embassy or a consulate. The main purpose of the new program is to boost the inflow of international visitors from developing countries to the US.
The new waiver program will, therefore, be available for citizens from Russia, India, China, Mexico, Brazil etc. Brazilian citizens will enjoy additional benefits as well. Every Brazilian, who is younger than 16 years or older than 66 will not only, be exempt from the visa interview, but also from fingerprinting requirements. The new program comes in the context of the growing efforts of President Obama to increase tourism and to reduce visa requirements for foreign citizens, who have been already screened by US officials.
Travel and tourism are very important sectors for the American economy because they enhance both international trade and help the US to expand its cultural and commercial ties. In order for someone to qualify for the interview waiver program, he must have successfully applied for the same type of visa in the last 48 months. Furthermore, he must not have been previously rejected for the US visa from the same category for which he is applying.
Although the program is new, waiving a visa interview was a common practice for the USA before 11 September 2001. After that, a lot of new rules were introduced which made interviews compulsory for most US Visa applicants. The implementation of the Interview Waiver Program is perhaps a sign that the US again feels confident of protecting its borders, without the need of interviewing every visa applicant.
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