Are you eligible to waive your non-immigrant visa interview? By: Andy Gene Strickland
U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad are suffering from a terrible backlog and scheduling delays. As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Department of State has expanded the eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa interview waiver.
Andy Gene Strickland suggests that if you believe you are eligible for an interview waiver, you will need to review your local U.S. consulate’s website or appointment scheduling website to determine what is required to apply for a waiver.
Typically, consulates require you to schedule an appointment to drop off or allow you to mail in the following documents: DS-160 confirmation page, a valid passport, pre-paid courier packaging for passport/document return, the fee receipt, two passport style photographs, and the visa petition approval notice (such as Form I-797 approval notice).
Be advised: As procedures will vary from consulate to consulate around the world and the consulate has discretion to require an interview of any visa applicant, you should consult an immigration attorney to discuss how to file and whether you may qualify for a waiver.
As part of the application process for a visa to the United States, typically you have to complete an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate to show that you are eligible for the visa. However, some applicants may be able to get the interview waived.
Using this process is a convenient option for those applying in certain nonimmigrant visa categories or those renewing visas in the same nonimmigrant category and can reduce the hassle and anxiety of an in-person interview with a consular officer.
Andy Gene Strickland states that current timeline for a interview waiver is through December 31, 2022 for the initial nonimmigrant visa application of the following visa categories:
Applicant for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, academic J, L, M, O, P, and Q visas and were previously issued any type of visa; Applicant for a visa category included above, from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, and previously traveled to the United States under ESTA authorization; Applicant for H-2 visa (temporary agricultural and nonagricultural workers).
Furthermore, Andy Gene Strickland asserts that in addition to the described visa types, you also need to apply at the consular post in your country of usual residence, and you were not previously refused a visa in any classification unless the refusal was overcome or ground for inadmissibility was waived
You may also qualify for an interview waiver, indefinitely, for a nonimmigrant renewal visa application if:
You are applying at the consular post of your usual residence; You have a previously issued U.S. visa in the same classification as the visa for which you are applying and your prior visa is still
valid or has expired within the last 48 months; Your prior visa is not annotated “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”; Your most recent visa in the same classification for which you
are applying was issued on or after your 14th birthday (For children under 14 years of age, interviews are rarely required.); Your most recent visa in the same classification for which you
are applying was not lost/stolen or canceled; and You were not previously refused a visa in any classification (with some exceptions).
As always, it is prudent to seek the advice of a professional attorney who practices immigration law to review the facts of your particular case.