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, provided the applicants meet certain conditions.
Effective Dec. 23, 2021 and currently valid through the end of 2022, U.S. 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 who are applying for an initial H-1B, H-3, H-4, L-1 individual, O, P or Q visa. The interview waiver also extends to citizens or nationals of a country in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have previously traveled to the U.S. based on authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and they 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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, and those planning to schedule a visa appointment should proceed with the scheduling process and follow any updated instructions received from the consulate.
Envoy is pleased to provide you this information, which was prepared in collaboration with Ian Love, who is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates (GIA), one of the two independent U.S. law firms Envoy exclusively works with on the Envoy Platform (the "U.S. Law Firms").
Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.