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In this blog post, we share a new update from the State Department regarding the continuation of its interview waiver policy for certain nonimmigrant visa types.
In a new announcement, the Secretary of State has revealed that it is extending its interview waiver policy for certain nonimmigrant visa types until December 31, 2023, allowing Consular officers to continue to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain classes of immigrants.
What is the extension all about?
As you might recall back in December of last year, the State Department first announced its interview waiver policy for temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas in their country of nationality or residence, following USCIS approval of their petitions.
The State Department has now confirmed it will continue its interview waiver policy until at least the end of 2023.
Interview Waiver Policy for H, L, O, P, Q visas
Pursuant to the interview waiver policy, Consular officers have the discretion to waive the visa interview requirement for:
- individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and that have not had any visa refusal or ineligibility issues in the past OR
- first-time individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided that they have no ineligibility issues and have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
Interview Waiver Policy for Certain F, M, and academic J visa applicants
Consular officers also have the discretion to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) through the end of 2023.
To be eligible for the interview waiver as citizens or nationals of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program, applicants must (1) have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via ESTA and (2) must apply for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.
Consular officers will also have the discretion to waive the visa interview requirement for:
- F, M, and academic J visa applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and that have not had any visa refusal or ineligibility issues in the past OR
- first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants that are (1) citizens or nationals of a country that participates in VWP and (2) that have previously traveled to the United States via an ESTA authorization, and that have not had any visa ineligibility issues in the past
Interview Waivers for certain H-2 Agricultural Workers and Visa Renewal Applicants
Consular officers may also waive the in-person interview requirement for certain H-2 (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) applicants through the end of 2023.
Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration are also eligible for interview waivers.
I believe I am eligible for an interview waiver, what should I do next?
The State Department cautions that despite this policy, Consular officers may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis, taking into account local conditions.
Each Consular section will continuously review its capacity to adjudicate visa applications and post its interview waiver policy on its webpage. The State Department recommends that applicants check the website of their U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad for information regarding the interview waiver procedures, guidelines, and services being provided to apply for a visa without an interview.
For a list of Consulates and Embassies please click here.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please text 619-483-4549 or call 619-819-9204.
- January Visa Bulletin
- List of U.S. Embassies and Consulates
- Important Announcement on Waivers of the Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas
- January 2022 Visa Bulletin
- Immigrant Visa Backlog Report
- DOS Visa Services Operating Status Update
- ImmigrationU Membership
- Success stories
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