The United States government announced on Thursday that it was temporarily suspending through December 31, 2022, in-person interviews for certain visas, including work, special education visitors, athletes, artists, and entertainers.
“We are pleased to announce that consular officers are now temporarily authorized, through December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based nonimmigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the following categories: Persons in Specialty 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), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas),” the U.S. State Department said, adding that it “recognizes the positive impact of temporary work visa holders on the U.S. economy and is committed to facilitating nonimmigrant travel and reducing visa wait times.”
Additionally, the Secretary of State has extended consular officers’ current ability to waive the in-person interview, through December 31, 2022, for the following other categories of nonimmigrant visas: Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas).
“We recognize the many contributions of international visitors to our communities and campuses. Lastly, the authorization to waive the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration has been extended indefinitely.
“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in profound reductions in the Department’s visa processing capacity. As global travel rebounds, we are taking these temporary steps to further our commitment to safely and efficiently reduce visa wait times while maintaining national security as our priority. We made this determination with the concurrence of our Department of Homeland Security partners,” the State Department wrote, adding that embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon local conditions.