HomeIndiaU.S. Decision to Waive In-person Interview for H-1B Visas Welcome Move, Says Trade Body Chief

U.S. Decision to Waive In-person Interview for H-1B Visas Welcome Move, Says Trade Body Chief

U.S. Decision to Waive In-person Interview for H-1B Visas Welcome Move, Says Trade Body Chief

“The State Department’s decision to waive several in-person interview requirements at embassies and consulates for non-immigrant visas, particularly H-1B visas, is a welcome move,” USISPF’s Indian American president said. Above: File photo of the U.S. Consulate in Mumbai. (in.usembassy.gov photo)

By REENA BHARDWAJ

WASHINGTON (ANI) – Mukesh Aghi, Indian American president and CEO of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Dec. 24 said that the U.S. State Department’s decision to waive several in-person interview requirements at embassies and consulates for non-immigrant visas, particularly H-1B visas, is a welcome move.

Speaking to ANI, the trade body chief said that the State Department recognizes the immense impact of temporary work visas on America’s economy, as H-1B visas serve as the vital link connecting India’s tech talent for America’s tech economy.

“The State Department’s decision to waive several in-person interview requirements at embassies and consulates for non-immigrant visas, particularly H-1B visas, is a welcome move,” he told ANI.

“The pandemic has precluded mobility and several Indian nationals in the United States haven’t been able to travel back for stamping. At the same time, several folks in India were unable to get appointments at the local missions due to COVID protocols and delayed wait times. The State Department recognizes the immense impact of temporary work visas (particularly H-1B) to the U.S. economy, as H-1Bs visas serve as the vital link connecting India’s tech talent for America’s tech economy. Hence, this is a win-win situation for both countries,” the USISPF president added.

Amid growing concerns of a COVID-19 surge, the U.S. on Dec. 23 said it is temporarily dropping an in-person interview requirement for some work visa categories: H-1B, L-1 and O-1.

Applicants for H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas applying from abroad won’t be required to do an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate, typically the final step before a visa is issued. Those categories represent the most common visa types companies use to attract high-skilled talent from abroad.

The consular officers are now temporarily authorized, through Dec. 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based non-immigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the following categories: Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas); Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas); Intracompany Transferees (L visas); Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas); Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas); and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas); according to a U.S. State Department release.

Additionally, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has extended consular officers’ current ability to waive the in-person interview, through Dec. 31, 2022, for the following other categories of non-immigrant visas: Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas), Students (F and M visas), and Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas).

However, embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and dependent upon local conditions.

“We encourage applicants to check embassy and consulate websites for more detailed information about this development, as well as current operating status and services,” added the release.

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