Embassy Announces Changes to Nonimmigrant Visa Program

The United States Mission to Canada announces the expansion of the nonimmigrant visa Personal Appearance Waiver Program (PAW), which allows certain qualified individuals to apply for a visa to the U.S. without being interviewed in person by a U.S. consular officer. This expansion will benefit thousands of applicants for U.S. nonimmigrant visas in Canada.

Most Canadian citizens may travel to the U.S. without a visa. Therefore, over 97% of nonimmigrant visa applicants at the seven U.S. consular facilities in Canada are residents or visitors in Canada who are citizens of other countries.

Under the expanded program, applicants will be informed of their eligibility for the PAW program when they apply for a visa appointment at canada.usvisa-info.com. Qualified individuals will be instructed to submit their applications by mail, saving the time and expense of a visit to a U.S. consular facility.

In addition, some other first-time visa applicants such as children applying before their 14th birthday and applicants over the age of 79 are exempt from personal appearance and will be informed of their eligibility for the PAW through the online appointment system.

This initiative is one of many steps the Department of State is taking to meet increased visa demand. In 2013, consular officers in Canada processed over 200,000 nonimmigrant visa applications, an increase of nearly 20% percent over the previous year. Presently, applicants wait on average fewer than ten days for visa interview appointments and spend less than one hour at U.S. consular facilities in Canada. Approximately 15% of visa applicants in Canada are expected to benefit from these appointment system improvements and the expansion of the PAW.

General information about U.S. visas and travel to the U.S. can be found at travel.state.gov.

Media Contact
Jennifer Young
Media Assistant
U.S. Embassy Ottawa
Tel: 613-688-5315
Email: youngjm1@state.gov