US extends waiver for visa interview till year-end  

WASHINGTON – Authorities in the United States have extended the waiver regarding visa interview to applicants till the end of 2023.

The Department of State said in a statement that it was committed to facilitating nonimmigrant travel and further reducing visa wait times.

‘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 for certain nonimmigrant visa categories through December 31, 2023’. the statement read.

The Consular offices have now been authorized through December 31 to continue to waive in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis for certain first-time and/or renewing applicants.

The categories of visas eligible for the waiver are:

Temporary Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Academic Exchange Visitors (academic J visas), and certain beneficiaries of approved individual petitions for nonimmigrant 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.

It has also been highlighted that the waivers were authorized by a determination of the Secretary of State with the concurrence of the Department of Homeland Security.

Besides, the authorization 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.

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.

Source: U.S. State Department

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