Many in-person nonimmigrant visa interview waivers in 2023

The Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced in December 2022 that they will extend the the visa interview waivers during 2023. This measure may affect thousands of people under nonimmigrant visas in the United States, particularly those on F, H-1, H-2, H-3, H-4, academic J, L, O, P, and Q visas.

Conditions for the visa interview waivers

The waiver is subject to certain situations and also to the discretion of the consular officers. These are the specific conditions that make applicants eligible for waivers:

H-2, F, M, academic J, H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O , P, Q applicants if:

  • Have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and
  • Have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility;

Certain first-time F, M, academic J, H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O , P, Q applicants if:

  • Are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility and have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) .

Additionally, applicants renewing a visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration are also eligible for waiver.

When will the visa interview waivers take place?

DHS and the Department of State announced in their joint release that the initiative is in effect until December 31, 2023. It is still to early to know if this measure will extend into 2024.

Benefits of the visa interview waivers for applicants

Applicants to US visas are often anxious about their consular visa interviews. Even though most of the times, there is little basis for this stress the interviews cause, this reaction is hard to control for many. This waiver program is very beneficial especially for those who get nervous about this in-person conversation with a US consular officer. Additionally, many applicants consider this step a true hassle as it may involve travelling to a different city in their country. Not to mention the financial stress caused by having to book transportation and accommodation just to visit the US Embassy or Consulate! All in all this measure is excellent news to those who can take advantage of it!

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