- The DOS and DHS are waiving in-person interview requirements for some nonimmigrant visa applicants through 2022
- In-person interview waivers apply to individuals renewing a visa in any category within 48 months of expiration
- The waiver also applies to initial H-1B, H-3, H-4, L-1 individual, O, P, and Q visas – provided they meet specific requirements
- The visa interview exception also extends to eligible citizens and nationals of countries in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
- Consular officers may also waive in-person interviews for additional select visas, including F, M, and academic J visas
The Department of State (DOS), in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is granting consular officers the discretion to waive the in-person interview requirement for some nonimmigrant visa applicants through 2022 who meet certain conditions.
What are the Changes?
Through the end of 2022, US consular officers may waive the in-person interview requirement for applicants who are renewing a visa in any category within 48 months of its expiration.
Additionally, the waiver applies to certain temporary workers applying for an initial H-1B, H-3, H-4, L-1 individual, O, P, or Q visa. This interview waiver will extend to citizens or nationals of a country in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have previously traveled to the US-based on authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) have no apparent or potential ineligibility.
Applicants who are not citizens of a VWP country may be exempt from an in-person interview if they are applying for a visa in their country of residence or nationality if they have already been granted a visa of any kind, and if they have never had a visa refused unless the refusal was overcome or waived. These applicants must still be the beneficiary of a petition approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Along with the visa categories above, consular officers may waive the in-person interview for other select visa types, including F, M, and academic J visas. Certain H-2 applicants may also bypass the in-person interview requirement.
Individuals who are applying for a visa should check the website of the nearest US Embassy or Consulate to determine what services are currently available and find information on waiving the in-person interview requirement. Those who have already scheduled a visa interview should attend their scheduled appointment unless directed otherwise by the consulate. Those planning to schedule a visa appointment should proceed with the scheduling process and follow any updated instructions received from the consulate.