Foreign Ministry Expands Interview Exemptions for Nonimmigrant Visas

The US State Department continues to take steps to shorten visa waiting times.

The Ministry recently updated the eligibility requirements for nonimmigrant visa interview exemptions. This means that more applicants will now be able to obtain their visas without an interview.

Under the new guidelines, people applying for visa types that are not immigrant visas;

  • have previously obtained a visa that is not an immigrant visa (except for B visas) and
  • 48 months have not passed since the expiration date of their visa

will be entitled to a visa without an interview.

First-time H-2 temporary work visa holders will also be able to benefit from the interview exemption.

Other conditions to be met

Those who want to be exempted from the interview process must meet certain conditions. Accordingly, applicants must;

  • Apply for a visa from their country of citizenship or residence,
  • His/her previous visa applications must not have been rejected,
  • Meet the eligibility requirements and have no potential to violate these requirements.

Consular officers may request a face-to-face interview if they deem it necessary.

These changes to the eligibility requirements for visa exemption will take effect from January 1, 2024.

America continues to speed up visa processing

Julie Stufft, who serves as the Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the United States, gave some information about the updates to visa procedures in an interview last December.

Stufft said, "In 2023, like most institutions, we aimed to return to our pre-pandemic order. In 2019, we issued approximately 8.5 million visas; this was a much higher number than the previous year. However, our operations were very restricted during the pandemic. So we looked at the 2019 statistics and thought it would be an ambitious goal to get back to that level. At the end of the fiscal year, we realized that we did much more than that. More than 10.5 million visas were issued, 2 million more than we expected and the highest level we have ever reached in any year in our missions abroad. Globally, we are also setting records in categories such as work visas and student visas," he said, noting that this allowed more people to visit the United States.

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