If you are looking to travel to California and you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you may need a visa. The process involves a thorough vetting process that might include an interview to determine whether you are eligible for entry into the United States. However, it is possible to obtain a visa without an interview in certain circumstances.
Understanding an immigration interview
An immigration interview typically consists of an in-person meeting with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer who will ask you questions about your purpose for travel, background, family history, financial information and more. The CBP officer decides whether to issue you a visa or not.
The main reason why the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services insists on an interview during consular processing is to ensure that all applicants are honest in their application and do not intend to engage in any illegal activity while they are in the United States. Moreover, the interview provides an opportunity for the CBP officer to verify that an applicant is eligible for a U.S. visa and accurately represents themselves on their application.
Getting a visa without an interview
It is feasible to procure a U.S. visa without undergoing an in-person interview. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has established guidelines for individuals who may be exempt from undergoing the mandatory immigration interview process, such as:
- Children younger than 14 years of age applying for nonimmigrant visas
- Applicants aged 80 or over applying for any type of visa
- Individuals renewing their visas within 48 months of expiration
- Certain members of the military and their spouses or dependents applying for nonimmigrant visas
- Applicants granted a waiver from an interview due to extenuating circumstances like medical emergencies, etc.
You should note that even if you are exempt from an in-person immigration interview, you may still need to provide additional documentation upon request. All applications must undergo a thorough vetting process. Additionally, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reserves the right to call you in for an interview at any time during visa processing.