The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain nonimmigrant visa applicants through the end of 2022. This authorization applies to temporary workers who are applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q visas who meet specific criteria, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. This authorization applies to individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q visa applications who have been issued any type of visa previously and who have not been refused a visa unless the refusal was waived or overcome, and who are not ineligible for a visa; or initial individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q visa applicants who are nationals or citizens of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as long as they are not ineligible and have traveled to the United States using ESTA previously.
DOS is also extending visa interview waivers for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) through the end of 2022. A change made to that authorization is that applicants eligible for the interview waiver because they are nationals or citizens of a country participating in the VWP must have traveled to the United States previously using ESTA to qualify. See here for additional details.