The U.S. State Department recently expanded a policy that grants consular officers greater leeway to waive in-person interviews for F, M and academic J visa applicants.
Additional Information: Details regarding country eligibility through the VWP and further procedures can be found on country-specific embassy or consulate websites. Applicants from non-VWP countries whose previous visas were issued when they were under the age of 14 may be required to submit biometric fingerprints but may receive an interview waiver.
BAL Analysis: While the expansion of the interview waiver benefits some applicants, the impact may be limited both because consular officers retain discretion to require an interview and because of limited visa services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. BAL continues to monitor the administration’s response to the pandemic and will provide updates as information becomes available.
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