Amid COVID-19 Concerns, US Extends Maintenance Waivers for H-1B and L-1 Visas



Dec 24 2021 07:44 STI

Washington [US], Dec. 24 (ANI): Amid growing concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States on Thursday (local time) is temporarily removing an in-person interview requirement for certain categories of work visas – H-1B, L-1 and O- 1.
The State Department is temporarily removing the in-person interview requirement for certain categories of work visas in 2022 to facilitate visa issuance, as the COVID-19 pandemic spans the third year, has announced the department.
Applicants for H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visas applying from overseas will not be required to complete an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate, usually the last step before a visa is issued. These categories represent the types of visas most commonly used by companies to attract highly skilled talent from abroad.
Consular officials are now temporarily allowed, until December 31, 2022, to waive face-to-face interviews for certain non-immigrant work visas based on individual petitions and their eligible derivatives in the following categories: H-1B), trainee or special education visitors (H-3 visas), people transferring within the company (L visas), people with extraordinary abilities or achievements (O visas), athletes, artists and artists ( P visas) and participants in international cultural exchange programs (Q visas), the US State Department statement added.

In addition, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has extended the current ability of consular officials to waive the in-person interview, until December 31, 2022, for the following other categories of non-immigrant visas: agricultural workers and temporary non-agricultural workers (H -2 visas), students (F and M visas) and student exchange visitors (Academic J visas).
We recognize the many contributions international visitors make to our communities and campuses. Finally, the authorization to waive the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the expiration of the previous visa has been extended indefinitely, the statement added.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in deep reductions in the Department’s visa processing capacity. As global travel rebounds, the United States is taking these temporary steps to further commit to safely and effectively reducing visa wait times while maintaining national security. The decision was made with the consent of partners in the Department of Homeland Security.
However, embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and depending on local conditions.
“We encourage applicants to consult the websites of embassies and consulates for more detailed information on this development, as well as the current state of operation and services,” the statement added. (ANI)



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