US launches several fresh initiatives to reduce visa wait times for Indians; know more

The current waiting time for Indians for a visitor visa to the United States of America is 535 days in New Delhi and 609 days in Mumbai. In order to reduce this period, the US embassy and its consulates in India have launched several new initiatives aimed at reducing waiting time and increasing visa processing across the country. The US mission said its services in India had been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a huge backlog.

It has affected several Indian businesses and thousands of Indians who rely on visas to live and work in the US. “Our consular teams across India are putting in the extra hours to meet the needs of international travelers and reduce waiting times,” Mumbai Consulate General John Ballard said in a statement on the Embassy’s website. “This is part of a mission-wide effort to find innovative solutions to facilitate travel to the United States,” he said.

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For Indians applying for work visas, the waiting time is currently between 60-280 days and the waiting time for visitors is around 1.5 years. The long waiting time for Indian visitors is in contrast to those from European cities where it is around 20 days. Applicants in Asian cities such as Beijing and Colombo must wait about 30-35 days, estimates from the US State Department show.

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US embassies in India to open on Saturday

The US Mission has said that its embassies in Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad will now be open on Saturdays to accommodate applicants who require in-person visa interviews.

The mission said the US State Department would soon increase the number of consular officers permanently assigned to offices in India. The State Department has implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants who previously held US Visas, the statement said. Between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will come to India to increase processing capacity. The State Department is also increasing the number of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates.

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The Consulate General Mumbai has also extended its operating hours during the week to accommodate additional appointments. “The US mission to India has prioritized facilitating lawful travel and has considered more than 800,000 nonimmigrant visas in 2022, including the largest number of both student and employment visas,” a said his statement. He also said he had released an additional 250,000 B1/B2 visa appointments – required for visitors – in 2022.



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