us visa appointment: United States visa appointment slots are finally open. Here’s everything you need to know

After a two-year hiatus, the United States has finally opened interview slots for new visa applicants.

“Visa appointments are now open for all categories! However, due to high demand, waiting times remain significant,” the US Embassy India tweeted.

The waiting time for Indians wanting to apply for US visitor visas has increased to 800 days, according to the US State Department’s website. The waiting time is nearly 400 days for student/exchange visas and other nonimmigrant visas.

The U.S. Mission to India also resumed processing routine in-person B1/B2 visa appointments as of September 2022.

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Here’s everything you need to know before planning your trip to the United States.

Already paid the fee but no slot yet?

The U.S. Mission will extend the validity of the payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2023 to allow all applicants who have been unable to make an appointment for a visa due to the suspension of routine consular operations to apply for a to arrange an appointment and/or attend a visa appointment with the fee already paid.

“The US Embassy and Consulates in India understand that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment,” he said.

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No personal interviews

The State Department has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain categories of visa applicants until December 31, 2022.

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This new authorization applies to travelers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, L, M, O, P, Q and Academic J visas without a flat rate, previously issued any visa, if this is the case, apply for a visa in their country of citizenship or residence.

This approval does not apply to applicants who have a prior refusal that has not subsequently been overturned or overcome. Critical consular officers may request a face-to-face interview when additional information is needed from applicants.

Applicants who renew a visa within 48 months of expiration are still eligible for an interview waiver.

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Dropbox applications

Consular sections across India are now accepting a limited number of Dropbox applications for H, L, C1/D, O, I, F, M and J visa extensions at Visa Application Centers.

How to request an expedited appointment

Applicants can request an expedited appointment through the Embassy’s online appointment system. You must already have a confirmed interview date to request an expedited appointment. If your expedited appointment request is approved, you will be notified via email with instructions.

You should not cancel your existing appointment unless you receive confirmation that your expedited appointment request has been approved. If you haven’t received approval or denial yet, your request is still under review.

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