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US visa wait time for Indian passport holders is going to get shorter

DailyBite
DailyBiteJan 23, 2023 | 11:31

US visa wait time for Indian passport holders is going to get shorter

The embassy said that by this summer, the US mission in India will be at full staffing and they expect to be processing visas at levels from before the Covid-19.

The US has finally launched new initiatives to cut delays in visa processing in India. These include scheduling special interviews for first-time applicants and increasing the strength of consular staff in the country.

The US embassy in Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad conducted "special Saturday interview days" on January 21.

"On January 21, the US mission in India launched the first in a series of special Saturday interview days, as part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants," the US embassy said.

What is the wait time for Indian visa applicants? As of Monday (January 23), the wait time for Indian visa applicants for the US was 535 days for (B1/B2) visas. B1 is a business visa, while B-2 is a tourism visa. For F, M, and J visas for students and exchange programs, the wait time for an interview is 90 days.

  • For H, L, O, P, and Q visas, which are for Petition-Based Temporary Workers, the wait time is 83 days. For C, D, C1/D visas, which are for Crew and Transit, the current wait time for an interview appointment is 84 days.

What are the new initiatives? The United States Embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad all opened consular operations on Saturday and released more than 2,50,000 additional B1/B2 appointments, reported PTI.

  • The US mission in India will continue to open additional slots" or appointments to take place on select Saturdays in the coming months. "These additional interview days are just one component of a multi-pronged initiative to address the backlog in visa processing caused by COVID-19," it said.
  • The US embassy said that between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase visa processing capacity.

Plan to go back to pre-Covid status: The embassy said that by this summer, the US mission in India will be at full staffing and they expect to be processing visas at levels from before the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • The statement said as travel restrictions have been lifted, the mission to India has made it a priority to facilitate legitimate travel and adjudicated over 8,00,000 nonimmigrant visas in 2022, including record numbers of both student and employment visas.

Focus on student visas: The US embassy said that initially, the focus is on student visas while addressing the backlog.

  • After issuing more than 82,000 visas to Indian students in 2022, the focus shifted to reducing the wait times for non-immigrant work visas such as the H and L categories, including the coveted H-1B visas, B-1 business visa, B-2 tourism visa, and visas for crews of shipping companies and airlines, reported The Hindustan Times.
Last updated: January 23, 2023 | 12:16
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