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Interview Waivers for Academic Visa Applicants

By: Angelita Chavez | September 16, 2021

By: Jacqueline Valle and Toni Ordona

Consular officers can now expand the categories of F, M, and academic J visas that can be processed without an interview through the end of 2021.

Waiver Requirements

Under new regulations, consular officers can choose to waive the visa interview for certain F, M, and academic J visa applicants. Academic J visas include students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, and specialists.

Applicants are eligible for the interview waiver if they:

  • Were previously issued any type of visa;
  • Have never been refused for any type of visa, unless that refusal was waived or overcome; and
  • Have no apparent or potential ineligibility.

Or if they:

  • Are first time F, M, and J visa applicants that nationals of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP); and
  • Have no apparent or potential ineligibility.

Applicants from non-VWP countries with a prior visa issued before they turned 14 may still need to submit biometrics even if the interview is waived. 

The rule change only applies to non-US citizen applicants who are nationals of eligible countries. F, M, and academic J visa applicants are eligible for National Interest Exceptions when subject to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.  More information regarding country eligibility, service availability, and the process to apply for a visa without an interview will be available on local US embassy or consulate websites.


For assistance applying for an academic visa, or for help receiving an interview waiver, contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration specialist.

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