All nonimmigrant visa application fee (also known as the MRV fee) payments made on or after October 1, 2022, are valid for 365 days from the date a receipt is issued for payment of the MRV fee. Applicants must schedule an interview appointment or submit an interview waiver application during this 365-day period. Please note applicants must only schedule their interview or submit their waiver application within the 365-day period. There is no requirement the interview must occur during the 365-day period. All receipts for payment of MRV fees issued before October 1, 2022, were extended until September 30, 2023, and remain valid until this date.


The applicant is responsible for ensuring they are submitting their application under the correct application profile. Failure to do so will result in the application being returned without being processed, and being returned via the incorrect profile to a Premium Pickup Location


The Secretary of State, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has authorized consular officers through the end of 2022 to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain temporary employment nonimmigrant visa applicants who have a petition approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This new authorization applies to temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. Under this authority, consular officers have discretion to waive the visa interview requirement for individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility; or first-time individual petition-based H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility and have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

In addition, the Secretary extended previously approved policies to waive the visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (F, M, and academic J visa applicants) through the end of 2022. One change to the previous policy is that applicants eligible for the waiver authority because they are citizens or nationals of a VWP participating country, must have previously traveled to the United States using an authorization obtained via ESTA to qualify. Applicants must apply for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. Like the policy for certain individual petition-based visa applicants, consular officers have discretion to waive the interview for F, M, and academic J visa applicants who were previously issued any type of visa, and who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived, and who have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility; or first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of a country that participates in VWP and who have previously traveled to the United States via an ESTA authorization, provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility.

The previous authority allowing for waiver of interview of certain H-2 (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) applicants has also been extended through the end of 2022. Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration are also eligible for interview waiver.

Consular resources and local government restrictions vary widely, and each consular section is continuously reviewing its capacity to adjudicate visa applications during this worldwide pandemic and as we address global issues and competing priorities. We encourage applicants to check the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to confirm the level of services currently offered and to find guidelines for applying for a visa without an interview.



Secretary Blinken, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, has temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for individuals applying for a nonimmigrant visa in the same classification. Previously, only those applicants whose nonimmigrant visa expired within 24 months were eligible for an interview waiver. The Secretary has temporarily extended the expiration period to 48 months. This policy is in effect until December 31, 2021. This change will allow consular officers to continue processing certain nonimmigrant visa applications while limiting the number of applicants who must appear at a consular section, thereby reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission to other applicants and consular staff. Travelers are encouraged to review the website of the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for detailed information on what services are currently available as well as eligibility information and instructions on applying for a visa without an interview. Please visit the following link for more information, click here.


As of September 17, the United States Embassy in Panama resumed certain non-immigrant visa services, including the following categories: A,G, C3 (diplomatic), C1/D (crew member), E2 (investor), I (media), P (athletes), O (extraordinary abilities), F and M (students), J (students), H and L (work visas), and B1/B2 via authorized courier through the Interview Waiver only. As of September 1, some applicants applying for a tourist visa (B1 / B2) may be able to request the renewal of their visa. You can request the renewal by authorized courier under the Interview Waiver, for adults 18 - 79 years of age click here. For children under 14 years of age and adults over 80 years old, click here. All visa services are subject to relevant Presidential Proclamations and U.S. court orders as noted at this link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news.html.  While the US Embassy Panama aims to process cases as soon as practicable, there is likely to be increased wait times for completing such services due to substantial backlogs. The MRV fee (visa processing fee) is valid and may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment. If you have an urgent matter and need to travel immediately, please follow the guidance provided at the following  link, or email Panama-Visas@state.gov to request an emergency appointment.


The U.S. Embassy in Panama aims to process immigrant visa cases as soon as possible, but there is an increased wait time for completing such services due to substantial backlogs. If you have been granted an appointment, please register your information for document delivery as explained in your interview letter. If you have doubts, please visit https://ustraveldocs.com/pa/pa-iv-documentdelivery.asp


On October 25, President Biden announced a Presidential Proclamation titled “A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This proclamation, which takes effect at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021, will end the travel restrictions under Presidential Proclamations (P.P.) 9984, 9992, 10143, and 10199 as they relate to the suspension of entry into the United States of persons physically present in Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, the Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. In place of these restrictions, the President announced a global vaccination requirement for all adult foreign national travelers. This proclamation applies to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departs after 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021. More information about this global vaccination requirement, including details on exceptions and waivers due to humanitarian concerns, is available at Non-U.S. citizen, Non-U.S. immigrants: Air Travel to the United States | CDC

Pursuant to President Biden’s proclamation, as of November 8, the Department of State can process visa applications for individuals physically present in the affected countries

Please note that the rescission of these P.P.’s does not necessarily mean that a U.S. Embassy or Consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa interviews. Please see the embassy/consulate website for information on what services they are offering at this time and instructions on how to apply for a nonimmigrant visa.


PLEASE READ IF YOU ARE TRAVELING TO PANAMA FOR A VISA APPOINTMENT: 

If you are not a resident of Panama and will be traveling to Panama for your visa interview, we strongly encourage you to travel with your appointment letter in your hand luggage in case the Panamanian authorities request evidence of why you are entering the country.