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State Department’s Visa Interview Waiver Two Year Pilot Program

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State Department’s Visa Interview Waiver Two Year Pilot Program

February 10, 2012

Foreign national students in F-1, J or M status have some welcome news: On January 19, 2012, as part of President Obama's initiative to reduce wait times for visas for certain travelers, the State Department announced a new two year Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Waiver Pilot Program. At present, the DOS has confirmed only that F-1, J and M students have been added to the list of visa applicants for whom Consular Officers may waive the visa interview. As a result, such students who have received a previous visa may be able to renew their visas without an interview, thus avoiding uncertainty in wait times. In relevant part, they must meet the following eligibility requirements in order for a Consular Officer to consider waiting the interview requirement:

(a) the applicant was not previously refused a visa;
(b) the visa is in the same classification as previously granted;
(c) the visa being renewed expired over 12 months but less than 48 months of the expiration of the previous visa;
(d) the applicant does not otherwise require a Security Advisory Opinion; and
(e) there is no evidence that the applicant may have failed to comply with U.S. immigration laws in the past.

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