Interview Waivers for Certain Visa Applicants Extended Through December 31, 2023
The Department of State has extending the authority of consular officers to waive in-person interviews for certain nonimmigrant visa categories through December 31, 2023. In its announcement the State Department highlighted its commitment to further reducing visa wait times in order to facilitate travel o the U.S.
Who is Eligible for the Visa Interview Waiver?
Consular officers are authorized to continue to waive in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis for certain first-time applicants and/or renewing applicants in the following visa categories:
- Temporary Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Workers (H-2 visas)
- Students (F and M visas)
- Academic Exchange Visitors (academic J visas)
- Certain beneficiaries of approved petitions for nonimmigrant temporary worker status including H-1B, H-3, L-1, O, P and Q visas, and qualifying dependent beneficiaries.
Authorization to waive in-person interviews for applicants renewing a visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration will also remain in place until further notice.
Applicants must have been previously issued any type of visa, must never have been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and must have no apparent or potential ineligibility for the visa.
What Employers and Foreign Nationals Can Expect
- Interview waiver policies help to reduce backlogs and visa appointment wait times by freeing up consular staff to conduct in-person interview appointments for applicants who require an interview. The State Department noted that nearly half of nonimmigrant visas issued in Fiscal Year 2022 were adjudicated without an in-person interview.
- Embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis, and dependent upon local conditions.
Applicants are encouraged to check embassy and consulate websites frequently for developments and visa application protocols, as well as current operating status and services, by visiting the Bureau of Consular affairs travel site.