By Michael Olugbode
The US Secretary of State, Mr. Anthony Blinken, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals applying for a non-immigrant visa in the same classification.
According to a statement by the United States Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs, only those applicants whose non-immigrant visa expired within 24 months were previously eligible for an interview waiver.
The statement noted that Blinken has temporarily extended the expiration period to 48 months.
“This policy is in effect until December 31, 2021. This change will allow consular officers to continue processing certain nonimmigrant visa applications while limiting the number of applicants who must appear at a consular section, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other applicants and consular staff.”
The statement encouraged travellers to review the website of the nearest US embassy or consulate for detailed information on what services are currently available as well as eligibility information and instructions on applying for a visa without an interview.