U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President of Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes issued the following statement on the administration’s decision to temporarily waive the interview requirement for returning and renewing immigrant visa holders issued on or after August 4, 2019:
“The travel community appreciates the action by the State Department to streamline the visa application process. It is a step in the right direction and comes at a critical time for rebuilding international travel. The severe backlog in visa applications will require additional focus and resources to help restore inbound travel to its pre-pandemic levels.”
The administration’s latest action to temporarily waive the interview requirement for returning and renewing immigrant visa holders is a positive development in addressing the backlog of nearly 2.6 million visa applicants, which is currently stalling the return of inbound international travel. However, the action also acknowledges that many individuals pose no risk to national security, and similar waivers could be issued to non-immigrant visas to have a greater impact on both the processing of visas and the travel industry’s recovery. The State Department issued approximately 50,000 visas during the period of August 4, 2019, to February 4, 2020, that would be eligible for interview waiver under the new temporary final rule.
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry. Travelers in the United States are estimated to spend $1.1 trillion in 2022 (still 10% below 2019 levels). U.S. Travel advocates for policies to accelerate an even recovery across the travel industry and restore economic and job growth for this essential contributor to our nation’s success. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.