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Consular Interview Requirement Waived for Select Immigrant Visa Applicants

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Consular Interview Requirement Waived for Select Immigrant Visa Applicants

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The Department of State announced on December 13, 2021, that immigrant visa applicants who were issued a visa on or after August 4, 2019, but were unable to travel to the U.S. on that visa, may be exempted from appearing for another interview when obtaining a new visa. This new rule, expected to benefit nearly 50,000 immigrant visa applicants, will hopefully help reduce the massive backlog of immigrant visa applicants waiting to be scheduled for a consular interview.

Under the new temporary rule, slated to be in effect for 2 years until mid-December 2023, a consular officer may waive the personal appearance and interview requirement for an immigrant visa applicant so long as:

  • The initial immigrant visa was issued on or after August 4, 2019
  • The applicant did not travel to the U.S. on the immigrant visa, and
  • The applicant is still qualified for the immigrant visa in the same visa classification and pursuant to the same approved petition

In their most recent report, issued in November 2021, the Department of State indicated that over 450,000 immigrant visa applicants are still waiting to be scheduled for a consular interview.  While this number is down from the 460,000 pending the prior month, and 468,000 pending the month before that, this massive backlog is far higher than the average of 60,000 applicants pending interviews each month in calendar year 2019.

Applicants who may be eligible to have their interview waived and encouraged to contact the consular section that issued their prior immigrant visa to discuss their eligibility.

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