In the midst of increasing Covid19 cases, the United States has decided to temporarily waive off the personal interviews of non-immigrant visa applicants. The State Department on Thursday, issued a statement to drop in-person interviews for H-1B, L-1, etc..visas. The department has taken the step in order to reduce the visa wait times and the positive impact of temporary work visa holders on the United States economy. The decision is taken to ease issuance of visas in the coming year.
1. On December 23, the US Department of State issued a statement to ease the process of visas for temporary work visa holders. Visa applicants for H-1B, L-1 and O-1 would not be required to do a personal interview at a US consulate.
2. "We are pleased to announce that consular officers are now temporarily authorized, through December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based nonimmigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives 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)," the Department of State said in an official statement.
3. The Secretary of State has also extended the authority of consular officers' to drop the personal interviews for 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).
4. Additionally, the authorization to waive the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration has been extended indefinitely.
5. However, the statement also included that embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon local conditions. It further suggested the applicants to check embassy and consulate websites for more information.
6. The Department further clarified that due to the Covid19 pandemic, the department has seen profound reductions in its visa processing capacity. "As global travel rebounds, we are taking these temporary steps to further our commitment to safely and efficiently reduce visa wait times while maintaining national security as our priority. We made this determination with the concurrence of our Department of Homeland Security partners," added the US State Department release.