Department of State Extends Waiver for In-Person Consular Interviews for Certain Nonimmigrants
December 22, 2023
The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has announced that it has extended the waiver for in-person consular interviews for certain employment nonimmigrant visa applicants who have petitions approved by USCIS, as well as their qualifying derivatives, until further notice. This is welcome news as in previous years the agency has extended the waiver in 1-year increments.
This new authorization applies to both:
1) First-time applicants for H-2 visas (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers); and
2) Other applications for nonimmigrant visas across all classifications who
- Previously held a nonimmigrant visa in any category except if the sole prior visa was a B visa and
- Are submitting applications within 48 months from the expiration of their most recent nonimmigrant visa.
Compared to previous iterations, the scope of the waivers has broadened to include all nonimmigrant categories, while individuals are no longer eligible if their sole prior visa issuance was a B visa.
Applicants renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same category visa within 48 months of expiration remain eligible for interview waiver until further notice.
Note: this authority to waive interviews is subject to local authority; consular resources and local government restrictions continue to vary widely, and each consular section is continuously weighing its capacity to adjudicate visa applications with competing priorities during this worldwide pandemic. Therefore, applicants should check the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to confirm the level of services currently offered and to find guidelines for applying for a visa without an interview.