- DOS and DHS are waiving in-person interview requirements for certain nonimmigrant visas
- The policy took effect January 1, 2024
- The most recent flexibilities will be reviewed annually and are not currently set to expire
- First-time H-2 visa applicants and applicants for visa extensions in other nonimmigrant visa categories are eligible, with some exceptions. Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements
The Department of State (DOS), along with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has announced that in-person interviews will be waived for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants.
The policy is effective as of January 1, 2024. DOS and DHS chose to extend the interview waiver policy after deeming specific interview waiver categories to be in the national interest of the US.
While the interview waiver policy has been implemented in the past, the main difference with the latest announcement is that the flexibilities are not set to expire. Instead, they will be reviewed annually and effective until further notice.
Who is Affected?
Categories covered in the current interview waiver include:
- First-time H-2 visa applicants (both agricultural and non-agricultural)
- Other nonimmigrant visa applicants applying for a nonimmigrant visa classification who:
- Previously received a nonimmigrant visa in any classification except a B visa and
- Are applying for a nonimmigrant visa within 48 months of their previous visa’s expiration date
DOS also notes that applicants seeking a renewal of a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the previous visa’s expiration are eligible for the interview waiver until further notice.
To be eligible for the interview waiver, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Apply in their country or nationality or residence
- Must never have a visa refused previously unless the refusal was waived or overcome
- Have no potential or apparent ineligibility
While the policy broadly applies to many nonimmigrant visa applicants, consular officers may still mandate in-person interviews in some instances.
Written by: Lucy Halse, Content Marketing Associate, Envoy Global
Edited by: Dmitri Pikman, Supervising Attorney, Corporate Immigration Partners
Source: Department of State (DOS)