The United States is waiving of in-person interviews for H-1B and other certain non-immigrant visa applicants, the State Department said.
In a bid to reduce visa wait times, United States waives in-person interviews for H-1B and certain other types of nonimmigrant visas through next year. “The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in profound reductions in the department’s visa processing capacity,” it said in a statement. “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.”
According to Reuters, the consular officers will now be temporarily authorized to waive in-person interviews for nearly a dozen visa categories, including Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), visas for students, temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers, student exchange visitors, as well as athletes, artists and entertainers.
State Department also said it has extended indefinitely 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.
US State Department in March 2020 had suspended all routine visa services in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak. While the services have been reinstated with a limited capacity and on a priority basis, months-long wait times for certain visa appointments persist due to a massive backlog.