According to a State Department official, the US is working to reduce the wait time for visa interview appointments in India. According to the official, visa processing is recovering faster than expected and will return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming year.
In response to concerns about the backlog of visa applications from countries such as India, State Department spokesperson Ned Price acknowledged the frustrations of those who have to wait for an extended period of time and stated that, as of November 2022, the median worldwide wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) interview appointment was approximately two months.
Emergency appointments, which are usually available within a few days, are also available for applicants who meet certain criteria and have an urgent travel need.
“Visa processing is recovering faster than projected and over the coming year, we expect to reach pre-pandemic processing levels,” Price said.
US Visa Wait Times Dropped in India
As reported earlier, the average wait time for US Visa Appointments where the interview is required has decreased from nearly 1000 days in late 2022 to nearly 650 days today.
The wait time for visitor visas at the Hyderabad consulate has decreased from 994 to 261 calendar days, while at the New Delhi Embassy, it has decreased from 961 to 786.
Furthermore, visitor visa wait times at the consulates in Chennai and Kolkata have decreased from 948 to 800 and 904 to 370 days, respectively.
|U.S. Embassy||Visitor Visa||Student/Exchange Visitor Visas|
|New Delhi||786 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
|Mumbai||999 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
|Chennai||800 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
|Hyderabad||261 Calendar Days||331 Calendar Days|
|Kolkata||370 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
US Issues Record Student Visas
Ned Price, also said that the US Embassy and Consulates in India have broken its previous record for the number of student visas issued in a single year by issuing more in 2022 than it has since 2016.
“We issued nearly 1,25,000 student visas. We recognize that some applicants may still face extended visa wait times, and we’re making every effort to further reduce visa interview appointment wait times as quickly as possible in India and around the world, including for first-time tourist visa applicants,” he said.
Price said the demand for visa services has only increased as pandemic restrictions have eased in countries across the world and people are looking for opportunities to travel to the US.
“We are successfully lowering visa wait times worldwide. We’ve doubled our hiring of US Foreign Service personnel to do this important work,” he said.
(With Inputs From PTI)