New US visa rule removes in-person interview

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The US High Commission in India has resumed its visa process for in-person B1 (business ) and B2 (Tourism) and has directed consular officers to waive off the in-person interview requirements for specific categories of visa applicants till 31 December 2022.

Who are eligible for this waiver?

The new rule of interview waiver applies to travellers who are applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas and also to those who are renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration. However, applicants that have a previous refusal cannot avoid in-person interviews.

The applicants must note that the waiting period for appointments will still remain lengthy at the US Embassy in New Delhi as well as at the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

How to request a quick appointment?

As per the official website of the US embassy, the applicants can request an expedited appointment on the online appointment system at Applicants will receive an email if the request gets approved. “Expedited appointment slots are very limited. Please note that due to the high volume of requests, we cannot accommodate all travellers prior to their planned travel dates, even if the purpose of travel is time sensitive,” the embassy wrote to the press.

Validity extension:

Many applicants waiting for the appointment may worry about the visa application processing fees they have already paid. In such cases, the US embassy has assured that the US Mission will extend the validity of the payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023. This will allow all applicants to schedule a visa appointment at a later date with the already paid fee. 

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