Waiving Interview Requirement

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The U.S. Department of State Waiving Interview Requirement for More Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

28 Dec 2021The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is temporarily making it much easier for many nonimmigrant visa applicants to qualify for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement. Commonly referred to as the “dropbox” process, the rule expanding eligibility is scheduled to remain in effect through the end of 2022.

New Eligibility Criteria for DropBox Option

This is a temporary rule. The motive of implementing this is just to clear backlogs. Which, in our view, is a good initiative by the DOS. So as of now, a consular officer can waive the in-person interview requirement. However, still, there are some conditions and rules. This New eligibility criteria for the dropbox option is for some particular Visas. If the foreign national is applying for an H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, or Q visa and meets all of the following conditions:

  • First, If a Foreign national is applying for a visa in their own country of nationality or residence.
  • Second, if the applicant has ever previously been issued any type of visa.
  • Third, the applicant has never been refused a visa unless the refusal was overcome or waived
  • Fourth, if the applicant has no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.

Also, a visa applicant who is applying for the first-time can qualify for the interview waiver, if the applicant is applying for a visa in the applicant’s own country of nationality or residence; the applicant is a citizen or national of a country that participates in the visa waiver program (VWP), the applicant has never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived and if the applicant has previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

A similar rule, previously implemented for F, M, and academic J visa applicants, has been extended through 2022. Also, a person may still qualify for the dropbox option if the applicant is renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration.

Conclusion

Giving consular officers more discretion to waive interview requirements should make it easier for consulates to clear the ongoing backlogs. Contact our team for more information related to visa processing.