U.S. Consulates May Now Waive H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q Visa Interviews

The State Department has announced that through December 2022, U.S. Consulates may now waive the in-person interview requirement for the above-named temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants.

The conditions for a waiver to be granted include the following:

  1. The Applicant must have been previously issued a visa of any type, and never refused a visa, unless the refusal was overcome or waived.
  2. The Applicant must apply in his/her country of nationality or residence.
  3. The Applicant must have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.

The interview may also be waived for a first-time visa applicant who is a citizen or national of a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country who has previously obtained an ESTA Authorization (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to travel to the U.S. as a visitor for business or pleasure AND has previously traveled to the U.S. under the VWP using ESTA.

The State Department has also extended, through the end of 2022, the authority previously granted to U.S. Consulates to waive the interview requirement for F, M and J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country who have previously obtained an ESTA Authorization (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) to travel to the U.S. as a visitor for business or pleasure. One change to the previous policy is that applicants eligible for the waiver authority because they are citizens or nationals of a VWP participating country must have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via ESTA to qualify.

The availability of interview waivers pursuant to this guidance will vary from consular post to consular post depending on workload and other considerations. Please note that U.S. Consulates are not required to implement this policy but can do so at their discretion. Applicants are strongly advised to check with the consular post in their home country for current practices.