Everything you need to know about US visa interview waiver

H-1B visa application approvedThe American Bazaar gives you a complete step-by-step guide on the new waiver, to whom it applies and everything else

Delhi, India based Vikas Kumar had been relentlessly trying to look for a visa slot at the US embassy in New Delhi for close to three months now.

Kumar who applied for an L-1 visa shared with the American Bazaar, “I have been trying for the Delhi location for two months and it has been very stressful for me.

“I am also looking for in-person visa stamping for my wife and my kid, but it’s a painful situation to see that while places like Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore have slots available within a few calendar days, it’s puzzling why the US embassy is not opening slots for India.”

Read: US waives in-person interviews for H-1B, student visas through 2022 (December 24, 2021)

For Kumar and thousands of other work visa hopefuls looking ahead to work in the US, the recent news of interview waiver for certain visa types comes as a big relief.

The US Department of State just announced that it will ease the process of visa stamping for many non-immigrant visa holders.

Ii also gives immediate relief to several visa holders based in the US too who needed a visa stamping and had been delaying their trips to India for fear of not getting a stamping date.

So, here is a complete step-by-step guide on what this new waiver means, to whom it applies and what all you need to know.

What may have led to this
For more than a year now, ever since Covid-19 forced consulate closings and social distancing protocols, the US visa slots in consulates around the world saw limited openings.

The situation became more acute in India due to the high volume of requests. While consulates had their own problems as most were not equipped in a way to ensure social distancing.

Added to it, consulate closures and ongoing lockdowns in various cities around the world compounded the problem.

Perhaps realizing that it may be bringing hardships to those intending to work in the US, along with the contribution work visa holders make to the American economy, the State Department made an important announcement to waive in-person interviews for certain visa categories.

The announcement also mentioned that there is a 48-month extension of drop box stamping for renewals beyond Dec 31, 2021.

Who is eligible?
Now the most important question – which visa categories does this waiver apply to? These visa types are eligible provided they meet certain requirements.
H1B Visa, H1B1 Visa
H4 Visa
H3 Visa
L Visas (L1A, L1B, L2)
O Visas (O-1, O-2)
P Visas (P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S)
Q Visas (Q-1)

Eligibility requirements
If you meet the following conditions then thank your stars as you can say goodbye to hours of logging into the computer checking for visa slots.
• If you have a petition approved by USCIS.
• You are applying for visa stamping in your country of nationality or current country of residence.
• You have some category of US visa approved in the past. It may have been even a B-1/B2 visa.
• You have never been refused a US Visa at Visa Stamping.

Validity
This new waiver program like all good things is not indefinite. The visa waiver for temporary work visa holders ends on Dec 31, 2022.

8 Comments

  1. Hi, I came to US on B1/B2 visa and applied for a COS to H4 from here which is still pending. However, my husbands I797 is approved. In my case what is a petition approved by USCIS? Can someone please help?

  2. My previous visa was an F1 and my H1 was approved this year. Am I eligible for dropbox?

  3. How do we apply for a Dropbox slot in this case?

  4. My company is applying for an L-1A visa for me under blanket petition. Will I be considered for interview waiver?

  5. Based on the criteria mentioned, I qualify for the waiver.
    How do we initiate it though?
    Do we need to raise a request for the waiver?
    My interview is due in another 10 days, how long do I wait before I travel across the country to the interview location?

  6. I have h4 visa and residencing in usa and same time I have approved H1B petition. Can I get in person interview waive off.

  7. Current visa is h4 and going for H1B stamping. Am I eligible for drop box

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