After withdrawing proposal to change H-1B visa selection criteria, the United States has decided to waive the in-person interview for visa applicants including H-1B workers and students during entire 2022. The State Department made the announcement in a press release saying this is done to reduce the visa wait time.
Applicants for H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas applying from abroad won't be required to do an in-person interview at an American consulate. These categories represent the most common visa types which companies often use to attract high-skilled talent from abroad.
The State Department also informed that as per new orders it has extended indefinitely the authorisation 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.
The US State Department in March 2020 had suspended all routine visa services in most countries worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
The consular officers will now be temporarily authorized to waive in-person interviews for nearly a dozen visa categories
It includes Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), visas for students (F and M visas), temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers.
It also includes student exchange visitors (Academic J visas), as well as athletes, artists and entertainers.
Previously approved policies to waive visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists extended.
Consular officers have discretion to waive the visa interview requirement for individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q applicants.