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DHS Waives Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas

The Secretary of State and Department of Homeland Security have recently announced a new policy authorizing consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants through December 31, 2022. This new authorization applies to temporary workers that are applying for the H-1B, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas who meet certain conditions. Individuals who have previously held these types of visas qualify for an interview waiver should they apply again.

There are certain criteria that must be met. The applicant must be applying for one of the above visa types from their country of nationality or residence. The applicant must also have never been refused a visa unless the refusal was overcome or waived, and the applicant must have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility. Also eligible for an interview waiver are first time applicants from countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if they have no ineligibility issues and have traveled to the U.S. before using authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Previously, DHS allowed interview waivers for certain types of H-2 (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) applicants and this order has also been extended through 2022. Applicants renewing any type of visa within 48 months of its expiration are also eligible for an interview waiver. 

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