Washington DC: The United States Department of State announced waiver of in-person interview requirement for a set of visa applicants, including H-1B workers and students, during the entire 2022, PTI reported.
As per the announcement, the US government authorised consular offices to drop in-person interviews for petition-based non-immigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the categories of 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 Programmes (Q visas).
The State Department's press release also states the waiving of some other categories of non-immigrant visas such as Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas).
Further, it extended the authorisation indefinitely to drop in-person interviews for those renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 hours of its expiration. The statement requests applicants to check the embassy and consulate website for further details as well as current operating status and services.
State Department is committed to facilitating non-immigrant travel and reducing visa wait times, the statement said, as it acknowledges contributions by international visitors to the US's communities and campuses.
The onslaught of Covid-19 prompted the US administration to close borders, like many other countries, last year. Travellers from many countries, including India, were restricted and later, these restrictions were lifted gradually. Only passengers holding certain kinds of visas were permitted to enter the country. Since November 8, all restrictions on fully vaccinated travellers, including Indians, have been lifted.