US extends interview waiver for international students till December
The United States has extended the interview waiver facility for more non-immigrant visa applicants, including international students and some temporary workers until December 31, 2023.
The Department of State said in a statement that it was committed to facilitating nonimmigrant travel and further reducing visa wait times.
This is part of measures deployed to cut visa wait times.
It said that they successfully lowering visa wait times worldwide, following closures during the pandemic, and making every effort to further reduce those wait times as quickly as possible, including for first-time tourist visa applicants.
“We are pleased to announce that the Secretary of State has made a determination extending the authority of consular officers to waive in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis for certain first-time and/or renewing applicants for certain nonimmigrant visa categories through December 31, 2023,” the statement reads.
Students and temporary workers have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Our @TravelGov team is working to reduce visa wait times and facilitate travel. Interviews for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants continue to be waived through Dec 31, 2023. https://t.co/W7D1ED6uY7
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 23, 2022
The categories of visas included are; Temporary Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Academic Exchange Visitors (academic J visas).
Other are, certain beneficiaries of approved individual petitions for non-immigrant temporary worker visas in the following categories: Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas), Intracompany Transferees (L visas), Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas), Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas); and qualifying derivatives.
The authorisation to waive the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration was previously authorized to remain in place until further notice, said the release.
The move by the State Department has slashed visa appointment wait times at many embassies and consulates by freeing up in-person interview appointments for other applicants who need an interview.
As per the State Department, nearly half of the almost seven million nonimmigrant visas the Department issued in Fiscal Year 2022 were adjudicated without an in-person interview.
“We are successfully lowering visa wait times worldwide, following closures during the pandemic, and making every effort to further reduce those wait times as quickly as possible, including for first-time tourist visa applicants,” the statement added.
It has also been instructed that embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and depending on local conditions.