Omanis exempt from interview for US visa

By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: May 23 – Omanis applying for tourist/business visas to the United States need not attend a personal interview starting from June 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said. The move is expected to encourage more travellers from Oman to visit the US and boost business relations between the two countries. The US Embassy in Oman has said from June 1, certain qualified Omanis who are renewing their US tourist/business visas (B1/B2 or B2) may be eligible to apply for their visa online without coming to the embassy for an interview.
“To know whether you qualify (for online visa), visit the US Embassy on Muscat’s Global Support Services (GSS) website,” it said.  The B-1/B-2 visitor visa is for those travelling to the US for business (B-1) or pleasure or medical treatment (B-2). Generally, the B-1 visa is for travellers such as business associates, those attending scientific, educational, professional or business conferences or those settling negotiating contracts.
The B-2 visa is for travel which is recreational in nature, including tourism, visits with friends or relatives, medical treatment and activities of fraternal, social or service nature.
Often, the B-1 and B-2 visas are combined and issued as one visa — the B-1/B-2.
“Section 214 (b) of the INA presumes that every B-1/B-2 applicant is an intending immigrant. You must overcome this legal presumption by showing that the purpose of your trip to the United States is for a temporary visit such as business, pleasure or medical treatment.
“That the applicant plans to remain in the United States for a specific, limited period of time; evidence of funds to cover your expenses while in the United States and that you have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding social or economic ties that will ensure your return at the end of your visit.”
The US Embassy had earlier said it was aware of “misinformation” in circulation claiming Oman is included in the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). “This information is false. Oman does not currently participate in the VWP. Omanis who wish to travel to the United States are still required to apply for and receive a visa prior to travel.”