January 10, 2022

The U.S. Extends Interview Waiver Policy for Some NonImmigrant Visa Applicants

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has extended their interview waiver policy, know as the “dropbox” option, for certain nonimmigration visa applications. Under the new policy issued by the DOS, consular officers will have the discretion to waive the in-person visa interview requirement for applicants with approved petitions for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas if they meet certain requirements such as applying for the visa in their country of nationality or residence. Officers can waive the interview requirements for the above mentioned applicants if they were either previously issued any type of visa and have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility or, if they are first time applicants who are nationals of a country in the visa-waiver program and have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility and have previously travelled to the United States via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

Students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists applying for F, M, and academic J nonimmigrant visas will also be eligible for the interview waiver requirement under the same conditions as described above.

The previous authorization for the interview waiver for certain H-2 applicants (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) has also been extended through to the end of 2022.

Any nonimmigration visa applicant renewing a nonimmigration visa within 48 months of the expiry are also eligible for the interview waiver.

For further information on immigration in the U.S., please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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