US State Department Announces Expanded Visa Interview Waiver Authority for 2024

The JTP Agency
December 28, 2023


  • The US State Department has expanded interview-free visa applications for certain applicants starting from January 1, 2024.
  • The waiver applies to first-time H-2B visa applicants and other nonimmigrant visa applicants renewing within 48 months of the prior visa's expiration, except for B visas.
  • The move aims to reduce wait times and contribute to issuing over 10.4 million nonimmigrant visas in 2022-2023.

The US State Department has announced that it will expand its policy of waiving in-person interviews for select visa applicants next year, as confirmed through a statement.

The Secretary of State, following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, has determined that the following categories of interview waivers are in the national interest.

US State Department

The Department has stressed that changes are implemented by consular officers, who have the authority to waive in-person interviews for first-time H-2B visa applicants and other nonimmigrant visa applicants applying for any nonimmigrant visa classification who was previously issued a nonimmigrant visa, except it was only a B visa, and are applying within 48 months of its expiration.

In all cases, applicants must meet certain legal requirements to qualify for an interview waiver. Implementation of this authority begins January 1, 2024, and will be reviewed annually. This authority is in place until further notice.

US State Department

In addition, the same has stressed that applicants renewing a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration date continue to be eligible for interview waiver until further notice, VisaGuide.World reports.

However, the US State Department has clarified that consular officers may still require in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis or because of local conditions.

The visa waiver authority has helped to reduce visa interview wait times significantly. In 2022, 2023, the State Department used it to cut the backlog in non-immigrant visa requests.

For a period from October 2022 until September 2023, the government issued over 10.4 million nonimmigrant visas internationally, in part, due to interview waiver authority, according to the US State Department.

The United States Travel Association believes that the prolongation will help the United States to save 2.2 million passengers and $5.9 billion in travel spending in next year.

The travel industry has raised concerns about the waiver authority expiring on December 31. This was discussed at the meeting held on December 15  of the US Travel and Tourism.

Given the millions of 10-year renewals coming up in the next 24 months, that was a primary area of concern.

Adam Burke, CEO and president of LA Tourism

Last month, the US Travel Association CEO and President Goeff Freeman addressed a letter to the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken as well as the US Security of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas encouraging them to extend interview waiver authority.