A senior American diplomat told leaders of the Indian community that the United States (US) government has waived in-person interview requirements for many Indian visa applicants till 31 December, according to a PTI report published on Sunday, 27 February.
Those who are eligible for the waiver include students (F, M, and academic J visas), workers (H-1, H-2, H-3, and individual L visas), cultural visas, and visa for those with extraordinary abilities (O, P, and Q visas).
"This is much-needed support to visa applicants. This would be very helpful to our friends and immediate family members and remove a lot of their concerns and remove inconveniences," said Ajay Jain Bhutoria, a south Asian community leader in the US. He is also member of US President's Advisory Commission for Asian Americans.
Bhutoria brought up the visa issue during his meeting with with Assistant Secretary of State for South Central Asia, Donal Lu, in Silicon Valley, California, on Friday, 25 February.
"Both India and the US are strong democracies and share democratic values and provide leadership in the Asia Pacific region," Bhutoria said, as quoted by PTI.
Lu said that till 31 December of this year, the State Department is authorised to waive in-person interview requirements for particular applicants.
To be eligible for the waiver, the applicants must have:
Previously been issued a US visa belonging to any category
Never been refused a US visa
No indication of potential ineligibility for the US visa
Another requirement is that applicants need to be a resident or national of the country in which they are applying.
The US embassy in New Delhi and its consulates in cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai will release more than 20,000 additional appointments for Spring 2022 to give applicants a chance to make use of the new interview waiver.
(With inputs from PTI)