On December 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced expansion of consular officers’ authority to waive an interview for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants. This consular officers’ authority to waive the in-person interview will be reviewed annually, and is in place until further notice.
Who is Eligible for an Interview Waiver?
Beginning on January 1, 2024, consular officers have the authority and discretion to waive the in-person interview for:
- First time H-2 visa applicants (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers); and
- Other nonimmigrant visa applicants applying for any nonimmigrant visa classification who:
- Were previously issued a nonimmigrant visa in any classification, unless the only prior issued visa was a B visa; and
- Are applying within 48 months of their most recent nonimmigrant visa’s expiration date.
Additionally, the following nonimmigrant visa applicants continue to be eligible for the waiver of in-person interview waiver:
- Applicants renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration date.
What are the Requirements to be Eligible for an Interview Waiver?
Applicants must also meet certain criteria to be eligible for an interview waiver, which include that they:
- Apply in their country of nationality or residence;
- Have never been refused a visa, unless such refusal was overcome or waived; and
- Have no apparent or potential ineligibility.
Considerations for the Interview Waiver
Consular officers’ authority to waive an in-person interview is discretionary. Thus, consular officers may still require the interview on a case-by-case basis or because of local consular conditions. It is important for applicants to check their local embassy and consulate websites for more information about visa application requirements and procedures.
Visit here for the DOS’ original announcement.