In a significant step towards expediting H1-B visa processing, the US State department is waiving in-person interview requirements at US consulates abroad. This not only includes non-immigrant visa applicants like H1-Bs but also for their dependents, spouses and children. This waiver is applicable until December 31, 2022.
Citing the “positive impact of temporary work visa holders on the US economy”, the State department is committed to facilitate convenient travel and reduced processing times for non-immigrant visitors.
Who Is Qualified For An In-Person Interview Waiver?
The following categories are eligible for an interview waiver –
- Persons in specialty occupations – H1-B visa & their dependents
- Trainees or special education visitors – H3 visas & their dependents
- Inter-organization transfers – L1 & L2 visa & their dependents
- Individuals with extraordinary ability – O visa & their dependents
- Athletes, Artists and entertainers – P visa & their dependents
- Participants in international cultural exchange programs – Q visa & their dependents
What You Should Know About Interview Waivers
If you had a previous U.S. visa (issued at post in India) and you are trying to apply for the same class of visa (or) if you are a minor applicant under the age of 14 years (or) someone who is over 80 years, please visit the U.S. Travel Docs website to understand the qualifying criteria to waive your interview.
How Does The Interview Waiver Work?
Consular officers in US consulates abroad are authorized by the US State Department to waive in –person interview for certain, eligible petitioners. This waiver is exclusively applicable only to petition-based non-immigrant work visa holders and their qualified dependents. Consular officers will evaluate each petitioner and their petition (including their dependents), verify their eligibility to be a non-immigrant visa holders.
This in-person interview waiver will be granted at the discretion of the consular officer. Should the officer feel that a non-immigrant petitioner should be brought in for further information, he could request for an in-person interview.
Are International Students With F1 Visa Eligible For Interview Waiver?
Consular officers can on good judgement and pursuant to local conditions, can also waive the visa interview requirement for F, M, and academic J visa applicants.
The following criteria applies in order to qualify for an interview waiver –
- Those F1, J and M visa holders who were previously issued any type of visa;
- For those who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived;
- Interview waiver for those who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility;
- First-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Renewal Of H1-B Visas
Officers in US consulates abroad have also been given the authority to waive in-person interviews for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the original visa’s expiration. This facility is dated indefinitely.