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.”Advertisement
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. Embassy||Visitor Visa||Student/Exchange Visitor Visas|
|New Delhi||596 Calendar Days||77 Calendar Days|
|Mumbai||638 Calendar Days||77 Calendar Days|
|Chennai||617 Calendar Days||77 Calendar Days|
|Hyderabad||609 Calendar Days||77 Calendar Days|
|Kolkata||589 Calendar Days||76 Calendar Days|
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.
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.
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.