US Visa: H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visa applicants applying from overseas will not need to have an in-person interview at a US consulate, usually the last step before a visa is issued. These categories represent the most common types of visas used by companies to attract highly skilled talent from abroad.
Washington: Amid growing concerns about the increase in COVID-19, the United States is temporarily lifting the in-person interview requirement for certain categories of H-1B, L-1 and O-1 work visas on Thursday (local time). The State Department is temporarily lifting the in-person interview requirement for certain categories of work visas in 2022 to facilitate visa issuance as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads into year three, the department said.
H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visa applicants applying from overseas will not have to undergo an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate, usually the last step before a visa is issued. These categories represent the most common types of visas used by companies to attract highly skilled talent from abroad.
Consular officials are now temporarily allowed, until December 31, 2022, to waive face-to-face interviews for certain non-immigrant work visas on the basis of individual petitions and their eligible derivatives in the following categories: special professions (H-1B visas), trainees or special education visitors (H-3 visas), Transfers within the company (L visas), People with extraordinary skills or achievements (O visas), Athletes, artists and animators (P visas) ) and Participants in international cultural exchanges (Q visas), they added the statement from the US State Department.
In addition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken extended the current ability of consular officials to forgo face-to-face interviews, until December 31, 2022, for the following other categories of non-immigrant visas: temporary agricultural workers and non agricultural (H2 visas), students (F and M visas) and student exchange visitors (academic J visas).
We recognize the many contributions international visitors make to our communities and campuses. Finally, the permission to withdraw from the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the expiration of the previous visa has been extended indefinitely, the show added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in deep reductions in the Department’s visa processing capacity. As global travel rebounds, the United States is taking these interim measures to continue its efforts to safely and effectively reduce visa wait times while maintaining national security. The decision was made with the help of partners from the Department of Homeland Security. However, embassies and consulates can still request an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and depending on local conditions.
“We encourage applicants to consult the websites of embassies and consulates for more detailed information on this development, as well as the current operational status and services,” the statement added.