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The U.S. State Department has expanded a policy that grants consular officers greater leeway to waive in-person interviews.
Background: Normally only applicants whose visas expired in the past 12 months are eligible for an interview waiver. Under a policy implemented in August, applicants whose visa expired in the last 24 months were eligible. The State Department announced on March 11 that it would expand waiver eligibility again, this time to 48 months.
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 because of 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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