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H-1B visa holder from Washington, Ishan Abhineet. (ANI)
H-1B visa holder from Washington, Ishan Abhineet. (ANI)

US waiver on in-person interview 'great move', says Indian H-1B visa holders

ANI | Updated: Dec 25, 2021 11:50 IST

Washington/Philadelphia [US], December 25 (ANI): An H-1B visa holder from Washington on Friday (local time) hailed US State Department waiver on in-person interview requirement for some work-visa categories - H-1B, L-1 and O-1 and termed it as "great move."
Sharing his experiences with ANI, Ishan Abhineet said, "I think it's a great move by US State Department. I can share my personal experience. I got married last month. My wife and I are both here on H-1B visas and we wanted to travel back to India for our marriage but we could not do that because my wife, would have to get a visa stamped in order to re-enter the US and she was looking for an online appointment in India."
"But, she did not find any appointment and we had to get married here. Now, I feel that we can travel back to India, meet all our relatives without worry, me and her getting stuck in India," he added.
Abhineet was happy over the fact that after the waiver, many people coming from small towns and villages of India will not have to travel to US Consulates offices located in big cities.
"This also means that people in India, who are hailing from small towns and villages, won't have to travel big cities where US Consulate Offices are located. They could just send in their documents and get their visas stamped," said Philadelphia-based visa holder.
He also said that Consulate officials now can process more H-1B visas.
"That's a great option and I also feel that the Consulate officials in India would have more time. They will be able to process more numbers of visas because they won't have to take in-person interviews. It's a great move and we really welcome that," he added.
Meanwhile, another Philadelphia-based Indian H-1B visa holder, Prashant Pushkarna said, "As an Indian immigrant to the US, I reckon that the decision to waive in-person interviews for some common US visa types like H-1B, L-1, etc; is good news, one that comes with a great sigh of relief."

"The pandemic has resulted in the reduction of US visa, the processing capacity, wherein; getting interview appointments for H-1, and H-4 is difficult, and for L and B type of visa are almost non-existent," added Pushkarna.
He also shared some instances wherein some Indian visa-holders were denied in-person interview appointments in emergency situations.
"I personally know of numerous people who have not been able to visit their home country due to lack of appointments and more than 5 of them couldn't even go home in case of family emergencies," he said.
Talking about the apprehensions of the process of waiver, the Philadelphia-based visa holder said, "The details of how in-person interview will be waived off, what are the criteria and the process will look like is still unclear. But, this is definitely a step in the right direction. The step will help numerous Indians waiting for appointments to visit their families in India."
Amid growing concerns of the COVID-19 surge, the US on Thursday (local time) had temporarily dropped an in-person interview requirement for some work-visa categories - H-1B, L-1 and O-1.
Applicants for H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas applying from abroad are not required to do an in-person interview at a US consulate, typically the final step before a visa is issued. Those categories represent the most common visa types companies use to attract high-skilled talent from abroad.
The consular officers are now temporarily authorized, through December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain individual petition-based non-immigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the following categories: Persons in Specialty Occupations (H-1B visas), Trainee or Special Education Visitors (H-3 visas), Intracompany Transferees (L visas), Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O visas), Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P visas), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q visas), added US State Department release. (ANI)