Since visa processing could take as long as six weeks due to Covid-19, the embassy recommends submission of applications well ahead of proposed travel dates
The United States has announced it will accept interview waiver applications for B1/B2 (tourism, business and medical) visas and non-migrant C,C1/D,F,I,J,M,O and Q visa categories, where there is no need for applicants to be physically present.
The US embassy in Dhaka announced this with a public notice on Monday.
Since visa processing could take as long as six weeks due to Covid-19, the embassy recommends submission of applications well ahead of proposed travel dates.
Only those who currently hold a visa, or have a visa that expired in the last 24 months, will be eligible to apply for the interview waiver. No new applications for student visas will be received for the time being.
The US embassy will not accept new visa applications for any non migrant visa categories, including F1 (student visa) and F2 (spouse/children of students). But the country will continue to offer emergency visa services to applicants with life or death emergencies. For example, it will accept visa applications for attending funerals.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, eligibility for an interview waiver of a non migrant visa application is extended to 24 months. This change will be in effect through December 31, 2020. Qualified applicants may log in to their online profiles at www.ustraveldocs.com/bd and submit their application package, after paying associated visa fees to the designated third party service provider: https://bd.usembassy.gov/important-notice-regarding-changes-visa-collection-center/.
After the embassy receives an application, the reviewing consular officer may determine that the applicant will require an in-person interview. These applicants will have to schedule interviews when regular in-person visa service resumes.
Until regular visa service resumes at the US embassy, the application fee (MRV) will remain valid and may be used to schedule an interview appointment at the embassy until December, 2021.
Reminder to Student visa applicants
Before issuing the notice, consular chief William Dowers held a question and answer session on a webinar. William said: “Even students with scholarships will be ineligible to apply for visas. Students must convince their related educational institutions to start the semester later than previously scheduled.”
The public notice read that the US embassy is only accepting interview waiver applications for existing students who want to renew their student visas for the same field of study and at the same institution.
“We are also accepting applications for existing F2 visas, for a student’s spouse and children under the age of 21,” it read.
Recommencement of regular visa services depends on the advice of medical professionals, it added.
“We do not know when regular visa services will resume. We do not know when in-person interviews for visas will resume. They will start when our medical professionals advise us to resume regular activity,” said William Dowers.
No new visa for covering US presidential election
“No journalist visa applications to cover the US presidential election will be accepted. Visa applications will be accepted only for emergency cases, and of course, there will be no in-person interviews. Presidential election coverage is not an emergency issue. Thus, no new applications from journalists will be accepted,” said William Dowers in response to a question about visas for journalists.
“But journalists who have a valid visa, or a visa that expired in the last 24 months, can apply for an interview waiver. Currently we are not accepting any applications for in-person visa interviews,” he said.