The United States will allow its consular officials to waive in-person interviews for H-1B and other certain non-immigrant visa candidates through the following year to help reduce visa wait times, the State Department said on Thursday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in profound reductions in the department’s visa processing capacity,” it said in a statement. “As worldwide travel rebounds, we are taking these temporary steps to further our commitment to securely and efficiently reduce visa wait times while maintaining national safety as our need.”
US to waive in-person interviews for H-1B, other visas through 2022
The consular officers will now be temporarily waiving in-person interviews for almost twelve visa categories. Including Persons for Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), visas for students, temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers, student exchange visitors. As well as athletes, artists, and entertainers.
The full list of visa categories in which the appointment now could be waived can be found here. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/ important announcement-on-waivers-of-the-interview-requirement-for-certain-nonimmigrant-visas.html.
Also, State Department said it has extended indefinitely the authority to waive the in-person interview. For candidates renewing a visa in a similar visa class within 48 months of the earlier visa’s expiration.
U.S. State Department in March 2020 had suspended all routine visa services in many nations worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak. While the services have been reestablished with a limited capacity and on a priority basis. Months-long wait times for certain visa appointments persist due to a massive backlog.