In-Person Interview Waivers Expanded for F, J and M Visa Applicants

September 16, 2021 Ian Love

The State Department has expanded an existing policy to waive in-person interviews for visa applicants due to COVID-19. The policy now extends to F, M and academic J applicants.  


Through Dec. 31, 2021, consular officers may waive visa interviews for first-time applicants in the F, M and academic J visa categories. Those individuals include students, professors, specialists, research scholars and short-term scholars.  

In order to have an in-person interview waived, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria. Ap. Applicants who have previously been issued a U.S. visa or who are citizens of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program and they must meet all other eligibility requirements for the visa that they are applying for. Individuals who have previously had a visa denied do not qualify for the in-person interview waiver unless the visa refusal was ultimately overcome or waived. Employers and applicants should know that consular officers have the discretion to approve or deny in-person interview waivers.  

Looking Ahead  

Although this update is a broader initiative of the State Department, employers and applicants are encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for further information on current services available and for additional guidance on applying for a visa without an accompanying in-person interview.  


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. 

About the Author

Ian is a Partner at Global Immigration Associates. His practice focuses on immigrant and nonimmigrant matters for companies ranging from small startups to Fortune 500 companies.

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