Interview Waiver Program Becomes Permanent
January 15, 2014 | Tags: H-1B
The Department of State has announced welcome news for certain H-1B, TN, L and other nonimmigrant visa holders and their employers. This week, the DOS made permanent the interview waiver program for certain nonimmigrant travelers, which it first introduced as a pilot program two years ago.
The program was introduced in order to improve the visa process for certain categories of nonimmigrant travelers to the U.S. Under the program as modified by the Department of State (DOS), consular officers have the discretion to waive the in-person visa interview for applicants seeking to renew any nonimmigrant visa within 12 months of expiration of the initial visa in the same classification with the same employer. With the exception of E, H, L, P and R visas, interview waivers are also available for nonimmigrant visa renewals up to 48 months after expiration of the initial visa in the same classification with the same employer. DOS also has made permanent the pilot program that permits interviews to be waived for certain first-time Brazilian visa applicants. To qualify, the Brazilian visa applicant must be younger than 16 or older than 65.
Additional eligibility requirements include but are not limited to the following:
The applicant was not previously refused a visa; The applicant is applying in the consular district of his or her normal residence; The applicant does not otherwise require a Security Advisory Opinion; and There is no evidence that the applicant may have failed to comply with U.S. immigration laws in the past.
The consular officer has the discretion to determine that a visa interview is required, even if the eligibility requirements have been met.