Certain Caribbean and other nationals applying for non-immigrant visas now qualify for prolonged interview waivers under the Biden administration.
The news came as the government declared its commitment to enabling non-immigrant travel and significantly reducing visa wait times. It acknowledged the beneficial impact of international students and temporary workers’ travel to the US on the US economy.
It stated that until then, specific first-time and/or renewing candidates may be exempt from in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis.
According to the State Department, these visa categories are for students (F and M visas), academic exchange visitors, and temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers (H-2 visas) (academic J visas).
The visa waivers are also extended to some recipients of authorised individual petitions for non-immigrant temporary worker visas in the following categories: H-1B visa holders; H-3 visa holders; L visa holders; O visa holders; P visa holders; and Q visa holders; trainees or special education visitors; individuals with extraordinary ability or achievement; athletes; artists; and entertainers.
The State Department reported that by making in-person interview appointments available to other applicants who need one, the interview waiver authority have decreased the wait periods for visa appointments at numerous embassies and consulates.
It claimed that roughly half of the department’s approximately seven million non-immigrant visas issued in Fiscal Year 2022 were decided without a face-to-face interview.