In-person Interviews Are Temporarily Waived For Immigrant Visa Applicants


After March 13, 2020, when then-President Donald Trump declared a national health emergency to curb the spread of Coronavirus in the U.S., immigrant visa applicants from certain countries were not allowed to enter anymore. The U.S. embassies and consulates stopped their routine services, and unprocessed immigrant visa applications created a backlog of roughly 50,000 cases. 

In their effort to reduce the visa application backlog created due to the COVID-19 pandemic, on December 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State ruled to temporarily waive in-person interviews for those applicants who had been previously approved for the same visa type. 

The ruling is aimed to help the applicants who were unable to travel due to the pandemic and have to meet specific time-limited criteria. The U.S. Department of State temporarily authorized consular officers to process visa applications without conducting in-person interviews for applicants who had previously successfully applied for the same visa category on or after August 4, 2019, and remain eligible for a new application. Under the new rule, the officers may request the required information and allow the applicants to make corrections in the applications, if they are necessary, via phone or email. If the in-person interview is deemed not necessary, the applicants shall affirm under the penalty of perjury that the information they provided is true and correct. 

The rule will remain in effect until December 13, 2023. The Department of State believes that the 24-month period is sufficient for the pandemic to subside, and then the visa application process will come back to the usual. 


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