DOS Updates Guidance Regarding Interview Waivers for Specific Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

On December 21, 2023, Department of State polished that following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, the Secretary of State has made a determination that certain categories of interview waivers are in the national interest.

Consular officers are now empowered to exercise discretion and waive the in-person interview requirement for the following:

  • First-time applicants for an H-2 visa (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers).
  • Other nonimmigrant visa applicants seeking any nonimmigrant visa classification who:
  • Previously held a nonimmigrant visa in any classification, except for cases where the only prior visa issued was a B visa.
  • Are applying within 48 months of the expiration date of their most recent nonimmigrant visa.
  • All applicants must meet specific legal requirements to qualify for an interview waiver. The implementation of this authority commences on January 1, 2024, and will undergo annual reviews. This policy remains in effect until further notice.

Individuals renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration date remain eligible for interview waiver until further notice.

To qualify for an interview waiver, applicants must also fulfill certain criteria, including:

  • Applying in their country of nationality or residence.
  • Having never been denied a visa (unless such refusal was overcome or waived).
  • Having no apparent or potential ineligibility.
  • Consular officers retain the discretion to require in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis or due to local conditions.

Applicants should refer to embassy and consulate websites for detailed information on visa application requirements and procedures, as well as to stay informed about the embassy’s operational status and services.

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