DHS Expands Interview Waiver Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

On Tuesday, August 25th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a temporary expansion of the ability of officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates to waive in-person interview requirements for individuals who are applying for a new nonimmigrant visa in the same visa classification. Normally, individuals whose nonimmigrant visas had expired within the last 12 months are eligible to waive the interview requirement, and renew their visa via mail (also known as the “drop box” option). The DHS has temporarily expanded the expiration period to 24 months, in an effort to minimize in-person contact at U.S. consular posts. This accommodation will be in place until December 31, 2020. Please note that individuals impacted by the H-1, L-1, and J-1 entry ban under Proclamation 10052 or the COVID-19 travel bans must still prove that they qualify for an exception in order to secure the new nonimmigrant visa stamp. Visa applicants should check the website of the consular post at which they are applying, as each post has different procedures on granting such individuals an interview waiver and national interest exception.

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