Renew My Visa/Apply By Mail

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Overview

The U.S. visa application must be reviewed by a U.S. Consular Officer, whether you are applying for the first time or renewing your visa. Drop-off visa services are available for many visa applications. In most cases, using this service eliminates the need to come in for an interview. Like an interview, however, the use of the drop-off service does not guarantee visa issuance. Further, we may, in some cases, after reviewing an application submitted through the drop-off service, require a person to appear for an in-person interview. It is important to know that your visa may still be valid if the passport it is in expires. You can travel to the United States with your old passport containing a valid visa and your new, valid passport.

Qualifications

You may be eligible to apply for a new visa or renew your visa at U.S. Embassy Bern without an interview if you meet the following conditions: 

  • Your visa must have been issued at the U.S. Embassy in Bern.
  • You must be a citizen or resident of, and have a valid mailing address in, Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
  • If you are currently residing in the United States, your last place of residence before entering the country was Switzerland or Liechtenstein.
  • You have never been refused a visa.
  • The Department of State has never revoked a visa issued to you.
  • Your visa application has never been subject to additional administrative processing.

Additional conditions apply, as described below.

Conditions for Mail-In Visa Service Based on Your Age::

  • Applicants 13 years of age or younger, and age 80 or older, may apply for a new visa or a visa renewal by mail if they have not been previously found ineligible for a U.S. visa. Please see below in "Supporting Documentation" to ensure the correct documents are included with the application.

Conditions for Mail-In Service for Current and Past U.S. Visa Holders:

  • You apply for the exact same type of visa. For example, you had a B visa and wish to apply for another B visa.
  • Your prior visa must have been issued to you when you were age 14 or older, and your 10 fingerprints must have been collected.
  • Your visa is either still valid, or expired within the last 12 months, and is one of the following categories: E, H, L, P, or R; or
  • Your visa is either still valid, or expired within the last 12 months, and is in the following categories: B, C, D, F, I, J, M or O.

Renewal Requirements for F/J/M Visa Applicants:

  • Student (F/M) applicants are eligible for drop box services provided they continue participation in the same program at the same institution.
  • Exchange visitors (J visas) must have the same SEVIS number.

Qualification for Visa Mail-In Service Based on the ‘Brazilian Interview Waiver’ and the 'Argentine Interview Waiver':

  • Applicants under 16 years of age, and age 66 or older. 
  • You are applying for C, D, B, F, I, J, M or an O visa, either for a first visa or a visa renewal. Applicants applying for E, H, L, P or R visas do not qualify for the mail in service.
  • You must hold a B or C Swiss residency permit, or have a Carte de Legitimation.

 

Supporting Documentation

  • Your original passport, containing at least one blank page, and any expired passports with previous U.S. visas in it. Since it is a requirement for some countries, we recommend that the passport be valid for at least six months from the date of departure from the United States, see country list.
  • If you are not a Swiss/Liechtenstein citizen, a copy of your Swiss or Liechtenstein residency permit, border crossing card for Switzerland, or carte de légitimation.
  • One completed application form DS-160 for each person traveling, including one form per infant and/or child, only send confirmation page.
  • One recent photo 5 cm X 5 cm (in color only) for each applicant, including children and infants taken within the last 6 months. Only Photos in the size 5 cm X 5 cm will be accepted.
  • In case your name has changed since the last visa issuance: please document this name change i.e marriage certificate etc.
  • In case your previous passport has been lost or stolen you will need to provide a police report to document the incident. 
  • If applying for a child: a copy of parent's visas or copy of approved ESTA request; a copy of the child’s birth certificate, showing the names of the child’s parents.
  • A short cover letter explaining the purpose of your trip to the U.S.
  • Evidence of funds to cover your expenses while in the United States.
  • All Petition-based Visa applicants must send a copy of their Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, or Notice of Action, Form I-797, from USCIS. 
  • Note: E-Visa applicants are not eligible for the Visa Reissuance Program

How to Apply

Step 1

Complete the non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 2

Log-in to our online applicant system and create a profile to pay the visa application (MRV) fee. Once logged in, choose “Schedule appointment”. As you go through the process you will answer the drop-box questions which will evaluate your eligibility to apply for a visa without an interview.

Step 3

After you answer the questions, you will be prompted to pay the visa fee. Upon qualifying you will receive detailed instructions of how to deliver your documents. You will need three pieces of information in order to register online:

Your passport number

  • The CGI reference number from your Visa Fee receipt. (Click here if you need help finding this number.)
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
Step 4

Gather your DS-160 confirmation page, MRV fee receipt, current and previous passports, photo, and a letter explaining your travel purpose and itinerary. Depending on the visa category, you may require additional documentation and a reciprocity fee. Please refer to your specific visa category page for additional required documents.

Step 5

When you are ready to submit the application documents, please send us an e-mail to support-switzerland@ustraveldocs.com and we will send you an address label which will allow you to send your package containing the application documents to the Consulate free of charge.

You should receive the e-mail within 1 – 2 business days.

Step 6

You will send your documents by Swiss Post to the Embassy. Click here for locations. Take your package with your supporting documents to a Swiss Post location and drop them off for delivery. An officer from Swiss Post will give you a recipe containing the tracking number of the shipment. Swiss Post will deliver your documents to the Embassy.

Step 7

At the end of the visa adjudication process, Swiss Post will return your documents and your passport to you at the chosen document delivery address in your profile. You can change the delivery address by accessing your profile. If issued, your passport will contain your visa.

Reminder: While you can be eligible to apply for a visa through the Visa Reissuance Program or if you are under 14 or over 80 years old, the final determination can only be made by a consular officer after your application has been received and reviewed.

If we are able to proceed, your application will be processed in approximately 5 – 7 workdays from the date of receipt. Pick up is not possible.
If not, you will be notified by mail to schedule an appointment to apply for a visa in person and all of your documents will be returned to you by mail.

Apply for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa