US Embassy Initiatives to Reduce Indians’ Visa Wait Times
The US embassy and its diplomats in India have started a number of new programmes to speed up the visa application process and reduce wait times nationwide.
For Indian travellers, the waiting period is about 500–600 days.
The COVID-19 outbreak, according to the US Embassy, had a significant impact on its service providers in India and caused a backlog.
Many Indians who relied on the visa to live and work in the US, as well as a number of Indian businesses, were affected.
According to a message on the embassy website by Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard, “Our consular employees beyond India are putting in the additional hours to accommodate the needs of foreign visitors and reduce wait times.”
At the moment, the wait for visitors is around 1.5 years, compared to a wait for work visas for Indians that spans from 60 to 280 days.
Tourists from European cities often had to wait roughly 20 days, compared to the lengthy wait for Indian visitors.
The United States State Department estimates indicate that applicants in Asian locations like Colombo and Beijing must wait for about 30 to 35 days. However, the waiting period in India has decreased from the roughly 3 years that many candidates had to undergo in 2022.
The United States Mission has announced that in order to assist applicants who need in-person visa interviews, its embassies in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad, and consulates in Mumbai, will now be open on Saturdays.
To accommodate more appointments, Mumbai’s consulate general has also expanded business hours during the week.
According to the mission, the number of consular employees permanently assigned to offices in India would shortly expand by the US State Department. To enhance its processing capability, it will also add dozens of interim consular officials from Washington and other embassies by the end of March.
“The US Embassy to India has made it a priority to enable lawful travel and adjudicated over 800,000 non-immigrant visas in 2022, including record volumes of both student and professional visas, according to a statement from the mission.”
According to the statement, 250,000 more B1/B2 visa appointments—which are necessary for visitors—will be made available in 2022.