Amid the growing concerns of surging COVID-19 cases, the US has waived the in-person interview requirement for a range of visa applicants during the entire year of 2022.
This includes the H-1B workers and students, many of whom are from India. It is to be noted that the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa; it basically allows US companies to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
Also, the Technology companies depend on it to hire employees each year from countries like India and China. COVID in India
The Department of State announced the big news that the consular officers are now temporarily authorized to waive in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based nonimmigrant work visas.
These will be in the following categories: Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas), Intracompany Transferees (L visas), Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas), Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programmes (Q visas).
Moreover, the Secretary of State has extended consular officers’ current ability to waive the in-person interview for the following other categories of nonimmigrant visas: Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas), as per the press release.
US Visa in-person interview waived
Although, the embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview depending upon the case-by-case basis.
This comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has resulted in profound reductions in the Department’s visa processing capacity.
Now as the global travel rebounds, the US is taking some of these temporary steps to safely and efficiently reduce visa wait times.
Moreover, the US is also witnessing a surge in the Omicron variant cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers show nearly a six-fold rise in omicron’s share of infections in only one week.
It was the African scientists who first sounded the alarm about the Omicron variant.
ALSO READ | Delmicron, twin variant threat