Chamber wants in-person interview for CW-1 visa waived

Posted on Mar 21 2023

Workers of Hong Ye Construction work on the sewer line along Beach Road in front of Joeten Center Building 1 in Susupe. (MARK RABAGO)

The Saipan Chamber of Commerce wants CNMI-Only Transitional Worker visa included in the list of eligible non-immigrant visas that qualify for a waiver of in-person interviews in their country of nationality or residence.

In a letter dated Feb. 15, 2023 to Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (D-MP), Chamber president Joe C. Guerrero is seeking the CNMI’s non-voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives’ help in convincing the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Homeland Security to waive in-person interviews to CW-1 visa applicants. 

“Including the CW-1 visa to the list of eligible visas for interview waiver will alleviate the historically backlogged schedule for in-person interviews. Problems arise when a CW-1 visa is approved by USCIS but then the only available in-person interview time slots are months later,” he said.

The long duration between the approval and the actual in-person interview becomes a burden not only to the CW-1 visa applicant but to the company that hired the foreign worker.

“As a result, by the time the worker is able to enter the CNMI, several months of their one-year visa period has already elapsed. This problem is often compounded when a Temporary Labor Certification by the U.S. Department of Labor is issued months after the CW-1 application is filed,” added the business group’s president.

Guerrero said that the Chamber looks forward to meeting with Sablan and or his staff to discuss the aforementioned request “and to explore ways to continue assisting CNMI businesses during these difficult times.”

Last Dec. 23, the Secretary of State, with the concurrence of the Department of Homeland Security, announced that it has extended until Dec. 31, 2023, the previously approved authority allowing consular officers discretion to waive the in-person interview for certain visa applicants who meet certain conditions, including the application for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. Applicants renewing a visa in the same classification within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration are also eligible for an interview waiver.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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