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U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs

Discontinuation of Domestic Visa Revalidation Services

The Revalidation Division is discontinuing its domestic visa revalidation (or reissuance) service. Notification of the discontinuation of domestic visa revalidation services was published in the Federal Register on June 23, 2004. The Division will CLOSE TO NEW APPLICATIONS ON JULY 16, 2004. ALL APPLICATIONS FOR VISA REVALIDATIONS IN THE E, H, I, L, O, OR P CATEGORIES MUST BE RECEIVED IN THE ST. LOUIS PROCESSING OFFICE ON OR BEFORE JULY 16, 2004.

Applications and supporting documentation received after July 16 will be returned.

Applications for visa revalidation following a 221(g) refusal and requests for corrections must be submitted to the Revalidation Division in Washington no later than September 30, 2004.

New applications will continue to be processed in the order in which they are received. All information in the sections below on the revalidation process remains valid.

After many years of service, the Revalidation Division must discontinue its domestic revalidation service for E, H, I, L, O, and P visas. Section 303 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act requires the Department of State to collect a biometric identifier (fingerprint) from all non-diplomatic visa applicants. It is not feasible for the Department of State to collect the biometric identifiers.

We encourage all applicants to apply for new visas in their home countries. If you are not traveling to your home country, you may apply at a U.S. visa processing post in Canada and Mexico provided you have made a visa interview appointment. You may also apply at a U.S. visa processing post in a third country provided you have made an interview appointment. You should understand that if there is a delay in visa issuance, you may need to spend more time overseas than you originally planned. Information on U.S. visa processing posts and their visa interview appointment systems is at http://usembassy.state.gov. A business associate, friend, or relative may need to make the visa interview appointment for you. We have directed our visa processing posts to give priority to applicants who would have benefited from our domestic visa revalidation service.

General Information
Visa Revalidation Is Not Guaranteed
Processing Time
Application Processing
Visas That Cannot Be Renewed In The U.S.
Required Documentation
Fee Payment
Where To Send Visa Revalidation Applications
Visa and Documentation Return
Visa Refusals
Related Links

General Information

The Visa Revalidation Division of the Visa Office accepts applications for revalidation of employment category (E, H, I, L, O, and P) visas from applicants who hold a visa of the same category and meet certain other criteria. Revalidation is also called renewal or reissuance. Applicants may also apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad that processes nonimmigrant visa applications.

The Visa Office considers existing visas for revalidation when they are within sixty days of expiration. Visas received for revalidation before that sixty-day period are returned without revalidation. If your visa has expired, the Visa Office accepts applications for visa revalidation only if the visa is within one year of its expiration date. Your nationality must be the same as when your previous visa was issued for the Visa Office to accept your visa revalidation application.

If you changed employers and received a new I-797, Notice of Action, you may reenter the U.S. with a valid visa in the appropriate category and the valid I-797 from your new employer, even though the visa is annotated to reflect your former employer. The Visa Office will not revalidate a visa to reflect a change of employer unless the visa will expire in sixty days or less.

Visa Revalidation Is Not Guaranteed

If your application does not meet all of the Visa Office’s established revalidation criteria, or if there is any other reason why your application is not clearly approvable for revalidation by the Visa Office, you must make a new visa application at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.

Processing Time

Visa revalidation processing currently takes approximately 10-12 weeks from the date your application is data-entered in the Visa Office in Washington.

The Visa Office adheres to a strict first-received, first processed policy for all visa revalidation applications. The Visa Office is unable to expedite visa re-issuance. If you anticipate urgent travel, please apply for your visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. If you submitted an application for visa revalidation and learn that you must travel urgently, please see “How do I withdraw a pending revalidation application?” below.

The Visa Office is unable to provide status reports on revalidation applications.

Application Processing

Each year the Visa Office receives approximately 65,000 applications for visa revalidations. Our goal is to process these applications as quickly as possible. Because of our volume, we do not provide status reports on visa revalidation applications or expedite applications. To make the revalidation process more transparent, we provide the following general information on how revalidation applications are processed.

Visa applicants, attorneys, and employers send visa revalidation applications to the Visa Office’s lockbox/processing center in St. Louis via the U.S. Postal Service or commercial courier services. The lockbox/processing center collects visa-related fees and data-enters the application information. After fee and data collection, the lockbox forwards the applications to the Visa Office in Washington. E, H, L, O, and P applications are processed together; one type of application does not receive priority over the other types of applications. The Visa Office receives the applications and loads the application data into its computer system. <>The date the Visa Office in Washington loads the application data into the Visa Office computer system in Washington is the date the Visa Office considers the application was received.

You should assume that it takes approximately 10 working days for the Visa Office in Washington to receive an application from the lockbox/processing center and for the Visa Office in Washington to load the application data into its computer system.

The lockbox operation returns applications that do not conform to the Visa Office’s requirements:

  • No nonimmigrant visa application fee ($100 per applicant), incorrect nonimmigrant visa application fee, or fee payment that conflicts with the type and number of visas being applied for;
  • A check drawn on a foreign bank or not payable to the Department of State;
  • No Nonimmigrant Visa Application form DS-156 /or Supplementary Nonimmigrant Visa Application form DS-157; or use of any version of the DS-156 other than the February 2003 version;
  • No passport;
  • An application made by a national of one of the seven countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan).
  • Non-standard visa photograph (See nonimmigrant visa photograph requirements)

ALL communication on visa revalidation applications is through the Visa Office in Washington. The lockbox/processing center does not communicate with the public at any time. The lockbox/processing center forwards any communications it receives on visa revalidation issues to the Visa Office in Washington for reply.

The Visa Office will refuse an application that does not conform to our requirements.

Visas That Can Not Be Renewed In The U.S.

The Visa Office does not revalidate visas for nationals of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria, the seven countries currently designated as state sponsors of terrorism. These applicants must apply for new visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. For more information, please see the Notice: Special Visa Processing Procedures Pursuant to Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002.

These visa categories are NOT revalidated in the Visa Office:

  • B1/B2 (business/tourism);
  • C (transit);
  • D (air or sea crew member);
  • F (student);
  • J (exchange visitor);
  • K (fiancé/e of a U.S. citizen)
  • M (vocational student);
  • N (parent of alien classified SK-3 Special Immigrant)
  • Q (international cultural exchange);
  • R (religious worker);
  • S (supplier of information relating to a criminal organization);
  • T (victim of severe form of trafficking in persons)
  • TN (NAFTA professional)
  • U (victim of criminal activity)
  • V (spouse/child of Legal Permanent Resident Alien)

Required Documentation

All required documentation must be submitted with the visa application. The Visa Office is unable to accept supplementary mailings from applicants who forgot to include some or all of the required documentation or other information.

Each applicant for visa revalidation in the Visa Office must pay the nonrefundable $100 nonimmigrant visa application processing fee and submit:

  • One Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156, completed in English, with the applicant’s original signature. (A parent should sign for an applicant under age 14.) All questions on the DS-156 must be answered. <>Applicants MUST give their U.S. home telephone number in the space numbered item 16. The principal applicant MUST give his/her telephone number in the space numbered item 16. The form must be typed or printed. Please spell out the month of birth (i.e., write "January 2," not 1/2 or 2/1). If the DS-156 is incomplete or improperly filled out, the passport(s) will be returned without visa(s). The Visa Office accepts only the February 2003 version of the DS-156. The electronic version is completed on-line and, when printed, generates a one-dimensional bar code on the first page and a two-dimensional bar code on a separate third page. Ensure that you print that third page and attach it to the rest of the applicaiton. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the electronic version of the DS-156. The Visa Office does not provide copies of the DS-156.
  • One Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-157, for all male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality, in addition to the DS-156. The DS-157 must be typed or printed. All questions on the DS-157 must be answered. Applicants whose native language is not written in the English alphabet should print their names in their native language in item 3 of the DS-157. The Visa Office does not provide copies of the DS-157.
  • One photograph stapled or glued to the DS-156 in the designated space, which meets the nonimmigrant photograph requirements. Do not submit a photograph in a glassine or other type of envelope. Staple or glue one photograph to the DS-156 in designated space.
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and valid at least six months beyond the visa application date (including Visa Office processing time). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person applying for a visa must submit a visa application. You must present the passport bearing your most recent E, H, I, L, O, or P visa. Each applicant receives an individual visa, and each Machine Readable Visa (MRV) covers a full passport page. Therefore, passports must contain a blank, unmarked visa page for each U.S. visa to be placed in the passport. Remove extraneous pieces of paper (slips of paper with phone numbers, old airline boarding passes, etc.) from the passport. You may submit a passport in a protective cover.
  • The original or a certified copy of Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record annotated by the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (formerly INS) immigration inspector from your most recent admission to the U.S. Please staple the I-94 to a page in your current passport.
  • Visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable. Please consult the Visa Reciprocity Tables to determine if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee.

    Nationals of India, please note:
    The reciprocal visa issuance fee in the H, L, O, and P categories is $50 per applicant. Reciprocity fees are in addition to the $100 visa application processing fee that each applicant must pay.

    Nationals of the United Kingdom, please note:
    There is a reciprocal visa issuance fee in the E-2 and L-2 categories of $105 per applicant. Reciprocity fees are in addition to the $100 visa application processing fee that each applicant must pay.

  • A prepaid courier service airbill and envelope or a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the passport and other documents. The Visa Office does not endorse the use of any particular commercial courier service. If using the U.S. Postal Service, the Postal Service recommends a padded envelope for passport return. A family should submit one courier airbill/envelope or one self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of their documents. Please use your address as the “from” address on the airbill or the self-addressed envelope. Please ensure that you have written your courier company account number or that you have given the courier company a valid credit card number on the airbill.
  • Applicants for E, H, I, L, O, or P visas must include additional documentation as noted in the links at the end of this instruction.
  • Dependents (spouse and/or children) of the principal alien who are applying separately from the principal alien must submit all required documentation requested above and in the specific links for E, H, I, L, O, or P visas (found at the end of this instruction), as well as certified copies of the principal alien’s current visa and I-94.

Fee Payment

Payment of visa revalidation fees may be made by bank draft, corporate check, or money order, payable to the U.S. Department of State. The Visa Office does not accept payment by cash, credit card, or personal check. Payment for the visa application processing fee and the visa issuance reciprocity fee, if applicable, may be combined in one bank draft, corporate check, or money order. A family may submit one bank draft, corporate check, or money order for all visa application processing fees and visa issuance reciprocity fees. Payment must be drawn on a U.S. bank and must be in U.S. currency.

Where to Send Visa Revalidation Applications

Visa revalidation applications <>MUST be sent to one of the addresses below. The first address is for the U.S. Postal Service and the second is for all courier services.

Postal Service

US Department of State/Visa
P. O. Box 952099
St. Louis, MO 63195-2099
Fax: 202-663-1608

Courier Service

US Department of State/Visa (Box 2099)
1005 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101-1200
Fax: 202-663-1608

I visa applicants only, please see this link for information on where to send your visa application:


Visa And Documentation Return

Issued visas and other documents (I-94s, employment letters, I-797s, etc.) are returned to you via your self-addressed, stamped envelope or prepaid courier airbill and courier envelope. On the courier airbill, please ensure that you have written your courier company account number or a valid credit card number. Ensure that you make a note of your airbill or other tracking number. You will need this information if you want to contact the courier for status information. The Visa Office is unable to provide this information to you if you misplace it.

The U.S. Postal Service and the major courier service companies pick up envelopes and packages from the Visa Office’s office building daily. The Visa Office cannot guarantee that the U.S. Postal Service or any courier service company will pick up envelopes on any given day, or when the courier service company or the U.S. Postal Service will dispatch the envelopes. The Visa Office does not track outgoing envelopes or packages.


Visa Refusals

The Visa Office will refuse your revalidation application under section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 and return your documentation to you if your application lacks any, some, or all of the following:

  • A properly completed Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156;
  • A Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-157, for all male applicants aged 16 to 45, regardless of nationality;
  • Visa photograph that does not meet our nonimmigrant visa photo requirements;
  • Reciprocity fee payment, if required;
  • A passport bearing the most recent visa in the same classification as the visa being applied for;
  • A passport that will expire in less than six months;
  • An application sent more than 60 days before expiration of the current visa or more than one year after the expiration of the previous visa;
  • An employment letter that it is not comprehensive and does not describe the applicant’s duties in detail;
  • I-797 Notice of Approval or I-94 from your most recent admission to the U.S.

The Visa Office may refuse any visa revalidation application if, in the Visa Office’s judgment, the application is not clearly approvable by the Visa Office. Because the Visa Office revalidates visas issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, the Visa Office does not interview visa applicants. If the Visa Office determines that an application is not clearly approvable in the Visa Office, per U.S. visa regulations, the applicant will require an interview with a consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad.

If the Visa Office cannot revalidate your visa due to a lack of documentation (incomplete DS-156, no DS-157, no I-94 or I-797, employment letter that is not comprehensive, etc.), your passport and other documentation will be returned to you using your airbill/courier envelope or self-addressed stamped envelope. The Visa Office does not retain passports, I-94s, or other documentation in a visa revalidation application pending receipt of properly completed application forms, correct fees, etc. You will receive a form stating what documents are required to continue your application. Please follow the instructions carefully when resubmitting your application. Return the Visa Office form with your resubmission to the address on the form. Do not enclose your passport and other documents in an inner envelope within your mailing envelope. Ensure that your visa photograph is properly glued or stapled to the DS-156.

The DS-156 and photo and the DS-157 (if applicable) are not returned with your documentation if your application is refused. Therefore, you must include a new completed and signed DS-156 with photograph and DS-157 (if applicable) when you resubmit the complete application packet.

If the Visa Office informs you that your application for visa revalidation cannot be processed in the Visa Office, you must make a new visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. You will be required to pay a new nonimmigrant application processing fee.

If you paid a visa issuance reciprocity fee but the Visa Office cannot revalidate your visa, the reciprocity fee will be refunded by the U.S. Treasury Department. The $100 nonimmigrant visa application fee is not refundable.

Due to the discontinuation of domestic visa revalidation services, all section 221 (g) refusals must be received in the Revalidation Division in Washington, DC by September 30, 2004.



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