US announces expansion of interview waiver eligibility for Pakistanis

ISLAMABAD   –   The United States embassy in Pakistan on Tuesday announced expansion of interview waiver eligibility for Pakistani nationals.

“The United States Mission to Pakistan is pleased to announce the expansion of interview waiver eligibility at the US Embassy in Islamabad and the US Consulate General in Karachi for certain applicants of F (student) visas, J (exchange visitor) visas in academic programmes, H (temporary worker visas), and non-blanket L (intra-company transferee) visas,” said a US embassy announcement.

Pakistani citizens who previously held US visas are eligible to use this programme.  “Expanding interview waiver eligibility in these categories will provide better customer service and support the efficient and timely processing of visas for qualified Pakistani citizens,” the US embassy statement said.

It added: “As required by US law, however, some eligible visa holders may still be required to appear at the US Embassy or US Consulate General for interviews after submitting their applications.”

Last year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the US Department of State had announced extension and expansion of its non-immigrant visa interview waiver programme.

Currently, US consular officers may waive the in-person interview requirement for applicants who are renewing any type of non-immigrant visa in the same visa category within 48 months of its expiration. That authorisation has now been extended indefinitely.

On December 23, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, granted consular officers through the end of 2022, the authority to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain non-immigrant visa applicants and their qualifying derivatives who have a petition approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The expanded authority applies to H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q applicants, provided the applicants meet certain conditions.

In addition, the DOS extended through the end of 2022 the previously approved policies to waive the in-person interview for other select visa types, including F, M, and academic J visas.

Certain H-2 applicants (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) may also bypass the in-person interview requirement.

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