- The United States is temporarily waiving the requirement for an in-person interview for H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visas and other certain non-immigrant visas.
- The move has been taken to help reduce the visa wait times, said the State Department.
- The most common visa categories used by businesses to acquire high-skilled workers from abroad are H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visas.
Amid rising worries over the COVID-19 spike, the United States announced on Thursday (local time) that an in-person interview is no longer required for various work visa categories, including H-1B, L-1, and O-1.
As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its third year, the State Department is dropping the requirement for an in-person interview for several work visa categories in 2022 to ease visa issuance.
Applicants seeking H-1B, O-1 and L-1 visas from countries other than the United States will not be required to attend an in-person interview at a US consulate, which is typically the final step before a visa is granted. These are the most popular visa kinds used by businesses to hire high-skilled employees from abroad.
Through December 31, 2022, consular officials are now temporarily authorised to forego in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based non-immigrant work visas and their eligible derivatives in the following categories: Individuals in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas), Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas), Intracompany Transferees (L visas), Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas), according to the US State Department.
Moreover, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has extended consular officers’ current ability to waive off in-person interview for the following non-immigrant visa categories through December 31, 2022: Students (F and M visas), Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas) and Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas).
We value the numerous contributions made by overseas visitors to our communities and institutions. Lastly, according to the announcement, the waiver of the in-person interview has been extended indefinitely for people renewing a visa in the same visa category within 48 months of the expiration of the previous visa.
The Department’s visa processing capacity was substantially reduced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As global travel improves, the United States is adopting these temporary actions to demonstrate its commitment to reduce visa wait times in a safe and efficient manner while safeguarding national security. The decision was taken with the approval of Department of Homeland Security partners.
However, depending on local conditions, embassies and consulates may still demand an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis.
“We advise applicants to visit embassy and consulate websites for more detailed information regarding this development, as well as current operating status and services,” the release stated.