The U.S. State Department will waive H-1B and L-1 in-person interviews and other non-immigrant visa application interviews through 2022 due to the backlog of applications created by the pandemic. Applicants for H-1B and L-1 and other visas applying from abroad won’t be required to do an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate, which is typically the last step of the application process. The December 23 waiver announcement that H-1B and L-1 In-Person interviews will be waived said:
"The Department of State recognizes the positive impact of temporary work visa holders on the U.S. economy and is committed to facilitating nonimmigrant travel and reducing visa wait times... 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."
Student and Other Nonimmigrant Visa Interviews
The State Department has extended in-person interview waivers through the end of 2022 for:
- Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas)
- Temporary Agricultural and Non-agricultural Workers (H-2 visas)
- Students (F and M visas)
- Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas)
- Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas)
- Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas)
Visa Renewal Interview Waivers
The State Department also waived in-person interviews for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration indefinitely.
Do You Need an H-1B or L-1 Work Visa?
An H-1B visa is also known as the "Person in Specialty Occupation" visa. It is for individuals who want to enter the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation that requires a higher education degree or its equivalent.
L-1 visas are for intra-company job transfer candidates who already work for a foreign branch of a U.S.-based company, or are planning to open operations in the U.S. of a foreign-based company.
Anyone considering the use of an H-1B or L visa should consult with an immigration legal professional who is familiar with these visas and can save you time, money and stress in the application process so that nothing is missed or delayed. There is a great deal of documentation required from both the employer and employee and a qualified professional can provide support along the way.
Contact the experienced immigration lawyers at Ackah Business Immigration Law today at (403) 452‑9515 or email us directly.