DHS Extends Temporary Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants
On Thursday, March 11th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced an extension of its expansion of interview waiver eligibility through December 31, 2021. The temporary expansion permits officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates to waive in-person interview requirements for individuals who are applying for a new nonimmigrant (e.g. H-1B, H-1B1, E-3) in the same visa classification as a visa that has expired within the last 48 months. Normally, the period for interview waivers is limited to within the last 12 months of visa expiration, and this most recent extension by the DHS further expands the window of eligibility from 24 months to 48 months. This accommodation allows more visa applicants to renew their visa via mail (also known as the “drop box” option). 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 a new nonimmigrant visa stamp. We strongly recommend employees to contact our office before making international travel plans.