VISA INTERVIEW WAIVER TEMPORARILY EXTENDED UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2023
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) , in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has extended its nonimmigrant visa interview waiver program for certain temporary workers, students, and exchange visitors, for one additional year—meaning the policy will now expire on December 31, 2023.
Until December 31, 2023, visa applicants may qualify for an interview waiver for an initial nonimmigrant visa applications at U.S. consular posts if:
• You fit in of one these categories:
• Applicant for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, academic J, L, M, O, P, and Q visas and were previously issued any type of visa;
• Applicant for a visa category included above, from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, and previously traveled to the United States under ESTA authorization; or
• Applicant for H-2 visa (temporary agricultural and non- agricultural workers);
• You are applying at the consular post in your country of usual residence, and
• You were not previously refused a visa in any classification unless the refusal was overcome or ground for inadmissibility was waived.
Under a separate program that is in effect indefinitely, visa applicants may qualify for an interview waiver for a renewal nonimmigrant visa application in the same classification if:
• You are applying at the consular post of your usual residence;
• You have a previously issued U.S. visa in the same classification as the visa for which you are applying and your prior visa is still valid or has expired within the last 48 months;
• Your prior visa is not annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”;
• Your most recent visa in the same classification for which you are applying was issued on or after your 14th birthday (For children under 14 years of age, interviews are rarely required.); Your most recent visa in the same classification for which you are applying was not lost/stolen or canceled; and
• You were not previously refused a visa in any classification (with some exceptions).
This DOS policy does not guarantee that each Embassy or Consulate must or will waive the interview requirement for everyone who meets the basic criteria. Instead, the policy gives consular officers discretion to waive the interview requirement. Implementation of this discretionary interview waiver policy will vary from consulate to consulate, and the visa applicant will not know if the Embassy or Consulate has waived their interview until after submitting the DS-160 online. At certain consular posts, processing times for visa applications that are processed pursuant to a visa interview are faster than applications that are lodged through the interview waiver process. Please contact your attorney at McCown & Evans LLP if you have any questions on whether the interview waiver process may be advantageous to you.