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 took effect at 12:01 am Eastern Standard Time on November 8, 2021, ended 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. More information about this global vaccination requirement, including details on exceptions and waivers due to humanitarian concerns, is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


The Department of State (the Department) has waived, through December 31, 2021, the in-person interview requirement for F, M, and J visa applicants qualifying as secondary and university students, professors, research scholars, short-term scholars, or specialists (“academic J visa applicants”) who were previously issued any class of visa, subject to certain conditions.

The Department has also waived the in-person interview requirement for first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) participating countries, subject to the same limitations described above.

The Department has also exempted from the requirement for collecting fingerprints, through the end of 2021, first-time F, M, and academic J visa applicants who are citizens or nationals of VWP participating countries who qualify for this proposed interview waiver.

The Department authorized waiving the visa interview requirement for nationals of all countries, except for the People’s Republic of China and Nigeria.

F, M, and academics J visa applicants that may benefit from the waiver are:

  • Applicants who were previously issued any class of visa and who have never been refused a visa, unless such refusal was overcome or a waiver of ineligibility has been obtained. For example, if an applicant was previously refused under INA section 214(b) but subsequently issued a visa, they would be considered having overcome the prior 214(b) refusal.
  • First-time and returning student applicants who are citizens or nationals of VWP participating countries and who have no derogatory or potentially derogatory information and no prior ESTA denials.

Interviews cannot be waived:

  • If an applicant was previously refused, unless such refusal was overcome or a waiver of ineligibility has been obtained. As noted above, applicants previously refused under INA section 214(b) and subsequently issued a visa at a later interview would be considered as having overcome their prior refusal;
  • If an applicant was previously denied ESTA as part of the VWP;
  • If there is any indication the applicant may be ineligible or potentially ineligible for a visa based upon derogatory information the officer has at post that the officer cannot resolve without an interview, including if the applicant is associated with an adverse lookout in the Consular Lookout and Support System that you cannot rule out;
  • If the applicant is not a national or resident of the country in which s/he is applying;
  • If the applicant is a national of a country designated by the Secretary of State as a state sponsor of terrorism;
  • If a student IW applicant has a SEVIS hit, follow guidance at 9 FAM 303.3. If you are not able to overcome the hit using the available records, you must interview the applicant to resolve the hit and the applicant does not qualify for interview waiver. Document the decision as detailed in the existing guidance; or
  • If the adjudicating consular officer otherwise believes the applicant should be interviewed, for any reason.

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.


Effective January 26, 2021 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test (a viral detection test for SARS-CoV- 2 approved or authorized by the relevant national authority), taken within 72 hours of departure. Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding. Airlines must deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery. This requirement is separate from the visa application process. All Presidential Proclamations restricting travel due to COVID-19 remain in place, and continue to apply to subject potential travelers regardless of their test results or vaccination status. Travelers holding a National Interest Exception also remain subject to all applicable pre-departure testing requirements. For more information on waivers to the testing requirement please click here .

Additionally, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, or believe you may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus, you are strongly encouraged to postpone your appointment by at least 14 days.


Effective January 14, 2021, the document delivery process for the return of passport/documents has changed. For details on changes, please click here.


Effective December 4, 2020, the U.S. Consular Exchange Rate in New Zealand for visa application processing fee has changed from 1.60 to 1.50. Please click here for revised fees.


With effect from October 15, 2020, online payment of U.S. visa processing fee via credit card will be unavailable. To pay the U.S. visa processing fee, you can pay your fee with cash, or debit card at a New Zealand Post shop offering payment services. Before going to a New Zealand Post shop offering payment services, you must print and carry the applicable U.S. visa fee deposit slip available after logging into your profile, or you may access the deposit slip here (use a computer and Explorer, Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser to access the deposit slip. Select the applicable deposit slip and then print the selected deposit slip immediately).

For receipt activation timeline when you pay at a New Zealand Post shop offering payment services, please refer to the table here for receipt activation timeline to schedule your appointment.


The U.S. Mission to New Zealand understands that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment. We have worked diligently and restored all routine visa operations as of July 30, 2020. For receipts valid on or after March 20, 2020 or purchased between March 20, 2020 and July 29, 2020 the U.S. Mission extended the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until December 31, 2021, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee. Fees paid on or after July 30, 2020 are valid for one year from their date of purchase.


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Welcome to the U.S. Visa Information Service for New Zealand. On this website you can find information about U.S. immigrant and nonimmigrant visas and the requirements to apply for each. You can also learn how to pay the required visa application fee, and book an interview appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Auckland.

This is the official visa information website of the U.S. Mission in New Zealand.