The State Department published a temporary rule Monday that will allow consular officers to waive the personal appearance and interview requirements for certain replacement immigrant visa applicants.

Under the rule, immigrant visa applicants will not need to make an in-person appearance for an interview, execution of their applications and oath, if:

  • Their visa was issued on or after Aug. 4, 2019;
  • They did not travel to the U.S. on the immigrant visa; and
  • They are seeking and remain qualified for an immigrant visa in the same classification as the expired immigrant visa or in certain automatic category conversions, pursuant to the same approved petition.

The rule will take effect immediately and will expire in two years, on Dec. 13, 2023.

Applicants who meet the criteria listed above may wish to contact the embassy or consulate that issued their prior visa to ask about their eligibility. Even for applicants who meet all the criteria, waivers will be granted at the discretion of consular officials. Applicants may be required to submit new DS-260 applications, provide any required updated documents, submit medical exams, and pay the application processing fees.

More information on the personal appearance waiver is available here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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