If you are planning a trip to the United States in the coming months, you are probably aware of how frustrating the waiting time can be. The process can appear daunting due to long processing times and the additional burden of scheduling and attending a visa interview.
However, there is some good news! The US Embassy has expanded its visa interview waiver programme, allowing eligible travellers to apply for a new visa without an in-person interview.
In this article, we’ll explore the eligibility criteria for the interview waiver process and how you can skip the visa interview to save time and streamline the application process.
US Visa Interview Waiver
In a recent tweet, the US Embassy in India confirmed that travellers with clearance received or department authorisation on their previous visas can now use the visa interview waiver process to apply for a new visa.
“More good news for U.S. visa renewals! Travellers with “clearance received” or “department authorization” on their previous visas can now use the interview waiver process to apply for a new visa. For additional interview waiver criteria, please see our website,” said the US Embassy in a Tweet.
Eligibility for the Interview Waiver Process
Applicants seeking to renew their visas in the same category that expire within 48 months are eligible for an interview waiver, according to the US Embassy.
Furthermore, the US Department of State has granted consular offices the authority to waive in-person interview requirements for travellers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, and academic J visas, as well as non-blanket L, M, O, P, and Q visas.
Applicants with previous refusals on their visas that were not later waived or overcome are not eligible for this process.
Streamlining the US Visa Application Process
The interview waiver announcement is part of the Biden administration’s effort to streamline the US visa application process. Many travellers who had to attend multiple in-person visa interviews at the Embassy or Consulate will breathe a sigh of relief as a result of this news.
What is the processing time for US visa applications?
Following the interview waiver, if consular officers require additional information, they may request an in-person interview. Applicants should anticipate up to three weeks from the time their passport is accepted at the Visa Application Center or when they receive notification that their passport is ready for pickup.
Overall, the expansion of the visa waiver programme is expected to improve the visa application process for many travellers, reducing wait times and streamlining the process.