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DOS temporarily expands nonimmigrant visa interview waiver eligibility

  1. Original Date Announced

    August 25, 2020

    DOS, in consultation with DHS, temporarily expands the eligibility for waivers of the in-person interview requirement from within 12 months of the expiration of an applicant's nonimmigrant visa to within 24 months of its expiration provided that the visa applicant is pursuing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification. The temporary expansion ends December 31, 2020. To accommodate COVID-19 restrictions, this change will allow consular officers to continue processing certain nonimmigrant visa applications while limiting the number of applicants who must appear at a consular section. [ID #1024]

    2020.09.25 DOS and DHS temporarily expand interview waiver eligibility
  2. Effective Date

    August 25, 2020
  4. Biden Administration Action: Approved/Retained

    December 23, 2021

    2021.12.23 Important Announcement on Waivers of the Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas

    This Biden administration action retains and expands the Trump-era action identified in this entry.

    On December 23, 2021, the Department of State issued guidance extending and broadening in-person interview waiver eligibility for certain temporary employment-based nonimmigrant visa applicants who have a petition approved by USCIS. Under this guidance, certain visa applicants applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, Q visas are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement through the end of 2022. In addition, DOS extended previously approved policies to waive the visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) through the end of 2022. The previous authority allowing for waiver of interview of certain H-2 applicants has also been extended through the end of 2022.  Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration are also eligible for interview waiver.

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Current Status

Fully in Effect
December 23, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Actions: Agency Directive Change in Practice
Subject Matter: Non-Immigrant Visas
Agencies Affected: Bureau of Consular Affairs

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • Previously, only those visa applicants whose nonimmigrant visas expired within 12 months were eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview.

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