Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: The US Department of State has adjusted the interview waiver system for non-immigrant visa applications, impacting eligibility for student visa categories.
Effective from January 1, 2024, the changes, confirmed in an update at the end of December, reflect a decision by the Secretary of State, in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, identifying specific interview waiver categories as “in the national interest.” These waivers will stay till further notice, subject to annual reviews.
Under the updated guidelines, non-immigrant visa applicants, including those seeking student visas, may qualify for a visa interview waiver if they were previously issued a non-immigrant visa (excluding a B visa) and are applying within 48 months of the last visa’s expiration.
In late 2021, the US Department of State initially granted consular officers the authority to waive interviews for certain non-immigrant visa applicants who had previously been issued a visa. This provision was extended for first-time applicants from visa-waiver program countries until the end of 2022, with a subsequent renewal until the end of 2023.