- US temporarily waiving in-person interview requirement for some work-visa categories
- State Department is temporarily dropping the in-person interview requirement for some work-visa categories
- Applicants for H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas will not be required to interview in person at a US consulate
The US is temporarily dropping the in-person interview requirement for some work-visa categories – H-1B, L-1 and O-1 – on Thursday (local time) amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 escalation. The State Department is temporarily dropping a personal interview requirement for some work-visa categories in 2022 to ease visa issuance as the COVID-19 pandemic extends into its third year, the department announced.
Applicants for H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas applying from abroad will not be required to interview in person at a US consulate, usually the final step before visas are issued.
Those categories represent the most common visa types that companies use to attract high-skilled talent from overseas. Consular officers are now temporarily authorized, as of December 31, 2022, to waive personal interviews for certain petition-based nonimmigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the following categories: Individuals in specialty occupations (H-1B visa), apprentice or special education visitor (H-3 visa), intracompany transferees (L visa), individuals of exceptional ability or achievement (O visa), athletes, artists and entertainers (P visa), and international cultural exchange programs Participant in (Q Visa), added in a US State Department release.
Additionally, the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has extended the current capacity of consular officers to skip in-person interviews, until December 31, 2022, for the following other categories of nonimmigrant visas: temporary agricultural and non-agricultural. Workers (H-2 visas), students (F and M visas), and student exchange visitors (Academic J visas).
We recognize the many contributions of international visitors to our communities and campuses. Finally, the authority to waive personal interviews for applicants who renew visas in the same visa category within 48 months of prior visa expiration has been extended indefinitely, the release added.
The department’s visa processing capacity has come down drastically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As global travel rebounds, the US is taking these tentative steps to commit to reducing visa wait times safely and efficiently while maintaining national security. Determination was made with the consent of Department of Homeland Security partners.
However, embassies and consulates may still require a personal interview on a case-by-case basis and depending on local circumstances.
“We encourage applicants to check embassy and consulate websites for more detailed information about this development as well as current operating status and services,” the release said.
(with ANI inputs)