Everything you need to know about the U.S. visa interview exemption
The American Bazaar gives you a complete step-by-step guide to the new waiver, who it applies to and everything in between
Vikas Kumar, based in Delhi, India, had been tirelessly trying to seek a visa slot at the United States Embassy in New Delhi for almost three months now.
Kumar, who applied for an L-1 visa, told the American Bazaar: âI have been trying for two months for the Delhi site and it has been very stressful for me.
âI’m also looking for an in-person visa for my wife and child, but it’s a painful situation to see that while places like Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Singapore have slots available within a few calendar days, it’s confusing to find out why the US Embassy is not opening slots for India.
Read: US waives face-to-face interviews for H-1B, student visas until 2022 (December 24, 2021)
For Kumar and thousands of other work visa applicants who are considering working in the United States, the recent news of the interview waiver for certain types of visas is a great relief.
The US State Department just announced that it will make the visa stamping process easier for many non-immigrant visa holders.
It also gives immediate relief to several US-based visa holders who also needed a visa and had delayed their trips to India for fear of not getting a date stamped.
So here’s a complete step-by-step guide to what this new waiver means, to whom it applies, and what you need to know.
What could have led to this
For more than a year now, since Covid-19 forced consulate closures and social distancing protocols, slots for US visas at consulates around the world have seen limited openings.
The situation has worsened in India due to the high volume of applications. While consulates had their own issues, most were not equipped in a way to ensure social distancing.
Added to this, consulate closures and ongoing blockades in various cities around the world have compounded the problem.
Perhaps realizing that this could cause hardship for those intending to work in the United States, as well as the contribution of work visa holders to the United States economy, the State Department has made an important announcement. to waive face-to-face interviews for certain visa categories.
The ad also mentioned that there was a 48-month extension to the stamping of drop boxes for renewals beyond December 31, 2021.
Who is eligible?
Now the most important question – what visa categories does this exemption apply to? These types of visas are eligible provided they meet certain conditions.
Visa H1B, Visa H1B1
L Visas (L1A, L1B, L2)
O Visas (O-1, O-2)
P visas (P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S)
Visa Q (Q-1)
If you meet the following conditions, then thank your stars because you can say goodbye to the hours of computer connection looking for visa slots.
â¢ If you have a USCIS approved petition.
â¢ You are applying for a stamp visa in your country of nationality or your current country of residence.
â¢ You have a US visa category approved in the past. It may even have been a B-1 / B2 visa.
â¢ You have never been refused a US visa at Visa Stamping.
This new waiver program, like all good things, is not indefinite. The visa exemption for holders of a temporary work visa ends on December 31, 2022.