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