US Embassy In India Starts Special Interviews For First-Time Applicants

The US embassy in India has taken a step forward in reducing visa processing time for applicants. With special visa interviews, additional staff, and extended working hours, the process will become smoother and faster for students, H and L category visa, H-1B visa, B-1 business visa, B-2 tourist visa, and crews of shipping companies and airlines.
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Exciting news for first-time US visa applicants! The US embassy in India has launched a new initiative to reduce visa processing time.

These special visa interviews will be conducted on Saturday with additional staff will be available for in-person interviews. Previous US visa holders no longer need to do in-person interviews, as their applications will be processed remotely.

Furthermore, to reduce the visa wait times in India, the US consulate in Mumbai has also extended their working hours for more visa appointments for Mumbai applicants.

“These new initiative will benefit those applying for student, H and L category visas, H-1B, B-1 business, B-2 tourist visas, and airline and shipping crew members.”

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It may be noted that the UA embassy has temporarily kept its consular operations open on Saturdays in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. In the coming months, the embassy will continue to open additional slots for appointments to take place on select Saturdays.

Visa Wait Times in India

The wait time for an appointment for Indians seeking a B1 (business) or a B2 (tourist) visa to visit the US was over 900 days last year which is now slashed to nearly half of its previous high. The embassy said the delay was due to the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are the details for the waiting times for the US Visitor (B1/B2) and Student (F, M, J) visas where the interview is required;

U.S. EmbassyVisitor VisaStudent/Exchange Visitor Visas
New Delhi596 Calendar Days77 Calendar Days
Mumbai638 Calendar Days77 Calendar Days
Chennai 617 Calendar Days77 Calendar Days
Hyderabad609 Calendar Days77 Calendar Days
Kolkata589 Calendar Days76 Calendar Days
US Visa Wait Times in India As of Feb 01, 2023

To increase processing capacity, the embassy is deploying temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies in India and increasing the number of consular officers permanently assigned to the embassy and consulates. By summer, the US Mission in India will be fully staffed.

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Waived Interviews for Previously Granted Visa Holders

The embassy has already waived interviews for applicants who have been previously granted visas to the US.

The consular teams across India are working extra hours to meet the needs of international travellers and bring down wait times, said Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard. This is part of a Mission-wide effort to find innovative solutions to facilitate travel to the US.

Impact of Long Wait Time for Visas

The long wait time for visas had a significant impact on Indian citizens seeking to visit the US for business or tourism. The US Embassy in India is taking steps to resolve the issue and make the visa application process more efficient and accessible.

By conducting special interviews on Saturdays and increasing staffing levels, the embassy hopes to lower the wait time for visas and facilitate international travel.

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Bottomline

This new initiative is great news for those who are planning to apply for a US visa for the first time. The longer working hours and the remote processing of applications will make the process smoother and faster for applicants.


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Manish Khandelwal
Manish Khandelwal

Manish Khandelwal, a travel-tech enthusiast with over a decade of experience in the travel industry. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Travelobiz.com, he's passionate about writing.

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