In the nick of time, on December 21, 2023, the Department of State announced that it will continue its interview waiver policy for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants. The agency’s interview waiver policy was previously set to expire on December 31, 2023. However, its implementation will continue starting on January 1, 2024, and remain in place until further notice.
Following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Secretary of State has determined that the following categories of interview waivers are in the national interest. Based on this directive, Consular Officers now have the authority and discretion to waive the in-person interview for:
- First time H-2 visa applicants (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers); and
- Other nonimmigrant visa applicants applying for any nonimmigrant visa classification who:
- Were previously issued a nonimmigrant visa in any classification, unless the only prior issued visa was a B visa; and
- Are applying within 48 months of their most recent nonimmigrant visa’s expiration date.
The Department of State reminds applicants who are renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration date, that they will continue to be eligible for an interview waiver until further notice.
To be eligible for an interview waiver, such applicants must also meet certain criteria, including that they:
- apply in their country of nationality or residence.
- have never been refused a visa (unless such refusal was overcome or waived).
- have no apparent or potential ineligibility.
Please be aware that despite the interview waiver directive, consular officers may still require in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis or require them due to local conditions.
Applicants are advised to check embassy and consulate websites for detailed information regarding visa application requirements and procedures, and to learn more about the embassy’s operating status and services.
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