US Nonimmigrant Interview Waiver Extended to December 2023
The US State Department has confirmed that the in-person visa waiver program is being extended for qualifying applicants to December 31, 2023.
The US nonimmigrant visa interview waiver program allows certain temporary employees, students, and exchange travelers to apply for a first visa or in some cases to extend a visa without having to attend an in-person interview.
Originally introduced as a temporary COVID measure in March 2021, the interview waiver was set to expire on December 31, 2022, but will now apply for a further 12 months, provided applicants meet the eligibility criteria.
Who is eligible for the interview waiver?
Applications under the following nonimmigrant categories may be eligible for the in-person interview waiver:
- Individual petition-based temporary applicants for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q visas
- F, M, and academic J visa applicants such as students, professors, short-term scholars and research scholars
- Some H-2 visa applicants applying from their country of residence or nationality for temporary agricultural and nonagricultural work
In addition, the waiver may also be open to nonimmigrants who are applying to extend a visa in the same category, provided the previous visa expired no more than 48 months prior to the extension application being made. This authority has no expiration date.
To qualify for an interview exemption, the applicant must meet certain eligibility criteria.
The applicant must apply in their country of nationality or residence, and they must meet all requirements for one of the following two conditions:
- Applicants who have previously received any sort of visa may be eligible if either they have never been denied a US visa, or the denial was overturned or waived; and they have no apparent or probable ineligibility to receiving a visa.
- Applicants applying for their first visa may have their interview waived if they are citizens or nationals of a participating Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country and if they have previously visited the United States with ESTA authorization.
US Embassies and Consulates are not obligated to implement the waiver rules and may rely on the waiver at their discretion, for example, in response to local processing conditions and resources. Applicants are therefore advised to check the status of the waiver program in the country they will be applying in.
Additionally, even where the interview waiver policy is being implemented, consulates retain the authority to refer an applicant for interview following review of their application.
NNU Immigration are dedicated US immigration attorneys based in London. We can advise on the impact of the waiver and provide expert guidance on your US visa application. For specialist advice, contact us.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.