USA Extends In-Person Visa Interview Waiver to Include More Indian Applicants


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Apr 28, 2023 01:00 PM IST

The US has recently announced the in-person visa interview waiver programme to encompass travellers with a “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorisation” tag attached to their previous visas, which are due for renewal within the next 48 months.

USA Extends In-Person Visa Interview Waiver to Include More Indian Applicants

After promising shorter wait times for Indian visa applicants over the past few months, the US has announced an extension of the in-person visa interview. Reports state that all travellers with a “Clearance Received” or Department Authorisation” tag on the previous visas will be able to avail of the interview waiver when applying for a new visa.

In a recent tweet published by the US embassy in India announced the extension of the visa interview waiver. Media reports revealed that applicants with 48 months left to the expiration of their visas will be eligible for the US in-person interview waiver.

Consular officers have been authorised by the Department of State to offer the in-person interview waiver for US visas. Travellers entering the country under visas F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q and academic J visas who held any other US visa previously and are applying for a visa in their country of origin or residence will be eligible for the same.

Also Read: Low-Skilled Indians See 500% Hike in Income After Migration: WDR Study

However, the authorisation does not cover applicants with a previous refusal which had not been waived or overcome. In addition to this, consular officers may also request an in-person interview from an applicant if they need to provide additional information.

Applicants can expect to wait up to three weeks from the time their passport has been accepted at the Visa Application Centre till the time they are delivered or receive a notification regarding the passport “pick-up” if they choose to avail of the interview waiver process.

Previously, the US had introduced the in-person interview waiver programme and extended the same till 31 December, 2023. The extension included a range of applicants for various different types of visas, such as:

  • Specific H-2 applicants like temporary agriculture and non-agricultural workers.

  • Select students, professors, scholars or specialists under F, M and academic J visas

  • Select temporary workers under H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q visas with an individual petition approved by the USCIS. These applicants will also be required to satisfy certain additional conditions, like applying for the visa while being in the country of origin or residence.

Also Read: USA To Issue Over a Million Student and Work Visas to Indians in 2023

All the candidates meeting the above-mentioned criteria can be eligible for the in-person visa interview waiver while displaying no apparent or potential ineligibility for the visa. The appointment wait times in India range significantly, specifically based on the different locations and visa categories as well.

For instance, the wait times in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai are relatively shorter compared to Kolkata and Hyderabad. The appointment wait times for B1 and B2 visa categories at all locations reach anywhere between 11-14 months.

Source: Economic Times

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