© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag is seen at the Cordova Americas border bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, March 26, 2020. Image taken March 26, 2020 REUTERS / Jose Luis Gonzalez
(Reuters) – The United States will allow its consular officers to waive face-to-face interviews for H-1B and certain other nonimmigrant visa applicants next year to help reduce visa wait times. , the State Department said on Thursday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the department’s ability to process visas,” it said in a statement. “As global travel recovers, we are taking these interim steps to continue our commitment to safely and effectively reducing visa wait times while maintaining national security as a priority for the United States.” we.”
Consular officers will now be temporarily exempt from face-to-face interviews for nearly a dozen visa categories, including those in specialty occupations (H-1B visas), student visas, student visas, and student visas. temporary agricultural and non-farm workers, student exchange guests, as well as athletes, artists and entertainers.
The full list of visas for which appointment can currently be waived can be found here https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/important-announcement-on -waivers-of-the-interview-request-for-certain-nonimmigrant-visa.html.
The State Department also said it has indefinitely extended an in-person interview waiver for applicants to renew a visa of the same type of visa within 48 months of the previous visa’s expiration date.
The US State Department in March 2020 suspended all routine visa services in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak. Although services have been restored with limited capacity and on a priority basis, months-long wait times for certain visa appointments persist due to a large backlog.
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