U.S. Waives In-Person Visa Interviews for a Range of Visas, Including Student Visas, Through 2022

    Updated on: 11 Sep 2023


    Amid the growing concerns of the rising COVID-19 cases, the US has announced that they are waiving off in-person interviews for a range of visa applications, including H-1B visas and student visas (F & J visas). The waiver includes certain petition-based temporary employment nonimmigrant visas and some other categories of nonimmigrant visas. 

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    The Department of State has authorized Consular officers to waive-off in-person interviews, through 31st December 2022, for the following visa categories - 

    • Student visa (M & F visas)
    • Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas
    • Temporary Agricultural and Non-Agricultural workers (H-2 visas) 
    • Persons in Speciality occupations (H-1B visas) 
    • Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas) 
    • Intracompany Transferees (L visas) 
    • Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas) 
    • Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas) 
    • Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas) 

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    The waiver is granted to individuals applying for nonimmigrant work visas who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for the visa from their country of residence or nationality. 

    Under this authority, Counselor Officers can waive off in-person interviews of individuals who - 

    • Were previously issued a visa
    • Were not refused a visa. If refused, the visa refusal must be overcome or waived. 
    • Have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility 
    • Have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). 


    The same conditions are extended to students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists through the end of 2022. The waiver applies to individuals from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in VWP and have previously traveled to the United States via ESTA authorization, and who do not have any apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility are also eligible for the waiver. 

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    Furthermore, the department has also extended indefinitely the authority to waive the in-person interview for applicants who are renewing the visa in the same class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration.

    First published date: 25 Jan 2022

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Gurbani kaur Suri
A keen lover of reading and loves to explore new things. A strong believer of spirituality and goodness.

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