Effective December 18, 2006, the rule amends guidance to consular offices
for the waiver of personal appearance of applicants for nonimmigrant visas
to conform to the requirements of Section 222(h) of the Immigration and Nationality
Act, as added by section 5301 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention
Act of 2004 (IRTPA). The final rule replaces the interim rule published in
the Federal Register on July 7, 2003.
Section 222(h) sets out detailed statutory requirements for personal interviews
of nonimmigrant visa applicants in the INA for the first time. Previously,
INA Section 222(e) left the question of personal appearance of nonimmigrant
visa applicants to be defined by regulation. According to the interim rule
published on July 7, 2003 there was a requirement for personal appearance.
This final rule replaces the previous interim rule to reflect the requirements
of IRTPA and the new INA Section 222(h).
The most significant change is that the persons in the same age ranges as
persons covered by the biometric collection requirement must be interviewed
by a consular officer. However, personal interview for the NIV applicants from
third countries may not be waived for NIV. This requirement also holds good
for the applicants who have been previously refused visas or found ineligible
for visas, where that ineligibility was not overcome.
The regulations continue
to permit exemptions from the interview requirements of persons in A-1, A-2,
C-2, C-3, G-1, G-2, G-3 G-4, NATO- 1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, or NATO
6 classifications, and applicants for diplomatic or officials visas.