INTERVIEWS WAIVED FOR STUDENT AND CERTAIN EXCHANGE VISITORS VISA PROCESSING:
The Department of State has waived, through December 31, 2021, the in-person interview requirement for some first-time students and certain exchange visitors. U.S. Embassy Oslo is ready to receive applications by mail for F1, F2, M1 students and J1 and J2 academic exchange visitors, in the student, professor, research scholar, short-term scholar, and specialist category.
No other categories of exchange visitors may benefit from this change and no other categories of J visa applications will be approved.
To take advantage of this change in student and exchange visitor visa processing, you must meet the requirements for your visa class and follow the instructions carefully. Please read the following instructions below carefully, applications and applicants not conforming to the below parameters will be refused or will require an interview, at such time as routine interviews resume.
- We will not be able to accept reciprocity payments for extended visa validity.
- We will not be able to process your application if you have been refused a visa that was not subsequently overcome or waived, or if you have been denied an ESTA.
- You must not have any apparent or potential ineligibility.
- You must be physically present in Norway.
- If you do not have a Norwegian passport, you must have legal residence in Norway and provide proof of residence with your application. **Please note: to qualify for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement, non-Norwegian citizens who are not citizens of another Visa Waiver Country must have been previously issued a visa in any class and may need to appear for fingerprinting.
- Your current passport must be valid for at least 6 more months.
- If your program state date is more than 120 days away, we will need to hold your application and passport until we are within the 120-day window. If you are within the 120-day window from your start date, we will need to hold your passport for approximately one week for processing.
- You have not already missed your program start date or cannot provide proof of an extension.
How to Apply: Please visit our Global Support Services (GSS) website for complete information on how to apply. Please be aware that current processing time for mailing in your application is 6 weeks, so please submit your application well in advance of your planned travel date.
Can I benefit from the Department of State's waiver of the in-person interview requirement to apply by mail for my first F, M, or J academic exchange visa?
Yes, if you are a first-time or returning student applicant who is a citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Program participating country and you have no derogatory or potentially derogatory information and no prior ESTA denials.
If you are a resident of Norway, but not a citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Country, you may also qualify if you were previously issued any class of visa and have never been refused a visa, unless such refusal was overcome or a waiver of ineligibility has been obtained. For example, you were previously refused under INA section 214(b) but subsequently issued a visa, you would be considered having overcome the prior 214(b) refusal. In some cases, we may need to you to appear to collect your fingerprints.
I already have a valid student visa (category F or M) in my passport, but now I am going to attend a different school. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
If your visa from your previous school is still valid, and you intend to return to study at a school other than the one from your original visa, you may travel to the United States with your original valid visa, and your I-20 from your new school. If you have received a new I-20 form with a new SEVIS number you must ensure that you have paid the appropriate I-901 (SEVIS) fee connected to your updated SEVIS number. The I-901 fee is paid through https://fmjfee.com/i901fee/index.html.
What if my still valid student visa is in an expired passport?
As long as the biographic data on your old and new passports match, your previous passport is from the same country as your current passport, and your previous visa is not canceled or altered in any way, then you are able to travel with your I-20 from your new school and both your current and expired passports.
My previous visa is expired. Do I need to apply for a new visa?
You may be eligible to apply for a renewal by mail. See above.
My visa will expire while I am in the United States. Is there a problem with that?
No. If the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer at the port-of-entry admitted you into the United States for a specific period of time, s/he will note your authorized period of stay on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94, called an Arrival/Departure Record. You will be able to remain in the United States during your authorized period of stay, even if your visa expires during the time you are in the United States. You can check the date of your authorized period of stay and learn the answers to other I-94 FAQs on the official I-94 Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection website.
How do I know if I am eligible to renew my visa by mail?
See requirements to apply to renew by mail above. Follow the instructions at https://www.ustraveldocs.com/no/no-niv-visarenew.asp to renew by mail. The process can take a couple of weeks, and we recommend that you not purchase an airline ticket to the United States until you have your new visa in your passport. If we determine that you do not qualify for a mail in renewal, we will send your passport back to you.
What if the SEVIS number on my new I-20 does not match the SEVIS number annotated on my old expired visa?
If the SEVIS number from your previous visa does not match the SEVIS number on your new I-20, you may still be eligible to renew by mail if your major or course of study at your old school is the same as the major or course of study listed on the I-20 for your new school. If that is the case, follow the instructions https://www.ustraveldocs.com/no/no-niv-visarenew.asp to apply to renew by mail. Your case will be reviewed to determine if we can issue you a new visa without an in-person interview. The process can take a couple of weeks and we recommend that you not purchase an airline ticket to the United States until you have your new visa in your passport. If we determine that you do not qualify for a mail in renewal, we will send your passport back to you.
What if I do not meet the criteria to renew my visa by mail?
If you do not meet the criteria above, you are not eligible to renew your visa by mail and you will require a visa interview before you can be issued a visa. You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview via our visa scheduling website: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/no/index.html?firstTime=No.
I have never had a student visa before and plan to study in the United States. How can I apply for a visa?
If you have never had a student visa before, then you may now qualify to apply by mail. Please see the instructions above.
Are students covered by the Presidential Proclamation, and do students who hold a valid visa need to apply for a National Interest Exception (NIE)?
No. Students with valid F or M visas and a valid I-20 form, may travel to the United States without notifying the Embassy to request an exception.