As of Sept. 14, 2021 the U.S Department of State has announced a continuing expansion of waivers for in-person visa interviews for F and J visa applicants through the end of 2021. The announcement indicates: "Consular officers may, if they so choose, and pursuant to local conditions, now waive the visa interview requirement 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 the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), provided they have no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility. This applies only to non-U.S. citizens who are nationals of eligible countries. Details about country eligibility and necessary procedures will be available on the website of the relevant embassy or consulate. Applicants from non VWP countries whose prior visa was issued when they were less than 14 years of age, may need to submit biometric fingerprints, but can still be approved for an interview waiver. "
September 15, 2021