Washington: The United States temporarily dropped an in-person interview requirement for some work-visa categories — H-1B, L-1 and O-1 — for 2022 on Thursday (local time).
The move came in response to growing concerns over surge in Covid-19 cases, reports news agency ANI. This aimed at easing visa issuances, as the Covid-19 pandemic spills into the third year, declared the State Department.
“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in profound reductions in the department’s visa processing capacity… As global travel rebounds, we are taking these temporary steps to further our commitment to safely and efficiently reduce visa wait times while maintaining national security as our priority,” The State Department said via a statement, reported news agency Reuters.
The department has now temporarily authorised the consular officers to do away with in-person interviews for almost a dozen visa categories. The categories include Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), visas for students, temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers, student exchange visitors, as well as athletes, artists and entertainers, the agency reported.