Who Must Attend a Consular Interview?

On December 23, 2021, there was an announcement from the government stating that certain people do not have to attend an interview. This caused a lot of confusion. There were a lot of people who were thinking this means that they don’t have to go to an interview. Unfortunately, most of those people who are in the process of the fiance and spouse visa are going to have to attend an interview.

See: Important Announcement on Waivers of the Interview Requirement for Certain Nonimmigrant Visas

The announcement that was released said that they were waiving personal appearances and interview requirements for certain immigrant visa applicants. The immigrant visa applicants normally are going to be those who are coming here for permanent residency eventually.

Unfortunately, this applies to a very small subset of people who already had an interview.

After the interview, you would be given the approval and they would either give you a packet with a passport and a visa on it or a lot of times depending on the consulate, they’re going electronic. They may instruct you to go to the actual port of entry and they’ll have your electronic information there to enter the US.

You’re coming into the U.S as a permanent resident or as a fiancé. If people do not enter the US within a certain time, that visa will get canceled. Most of the time. there’s going to be a time frame that people have to enter the US or they need to either start over, repay fees, or resubmit documentation. For that reason, we never advise people to wait too long to actually enter the US.

But the people who are finding themselves in this situation, the new rule applies to them are those who did not enter the US on time. There could be multiple reasons for this. They’ve already been issued their immigrant visa, they’ve already been approved, they just didn’t enter the US. That is who this specific rule applies to.

We wanted to clarify that just because we have received a lot of questions from people saying, is this good news? Does this mean that I don’t have to go will I actually be able to enter the US quicker because I don’t have to wait for that interview? Unfortunately, no, this doesn’t apply to you.

The majority of the time, it’s just going to be that small group of people who specifically after August 4th of 2019, at the beginning of the pandemic until now. If they have been issued their actual immigrant visa and have been approved, they just did not travel to the U.S on that immigrant visa and they want to enter the US now, it’s essentially giving the consular officers the option to not have to re-interview them because they are still working on limited resources.

This is the reason why so many consular interviews are delayed because there’s only so much that they can do as humanly possible. They have limited resources that are causing the backlog for general interviews in all the consulates.

They might still ask you to pay additional fees or resubmit documentation. They could ask if everything else is the same as when they interviewed you the first time. If you say yes, then they have the option to go ahead and just push this for approval versus having you get interviewed again because they could give that interview slot to somebody who has never been interviewed before. That way, that backlog hopefully eventually ends up getting reduced.

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