The US Embassy in India on Friday said that it has made over 1 lakh appointments available for those who qualify for a visa under the employment-based H&L category and their family members.
Following S Jaishankar’s discussion of the visa delay with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken late last month, this was one of the important assurances provided by the US mission here recently.
Over 1 Lakh H&L Visa Appointments
The US Embassy in India, on Friday in a series of tweets, said, “In response to high demand for employment-based visas, the US Mission to India recently released over 100,000 appointments for H&L workers and their families.”
The embassy went on to say that “Thousands of applicants have already booked their appointments and the wait time for both interview waiver and first-time appointments has been cut in half throughout Mission India. This bulk appointment opening reflects our ongoing commitment to H&L workers.”
Adding, “In fact, in the first nine months of 2022, the (we) had already processed over 160,000 H&L visas and we will continue to prioritise H&L workers for visa appointments as resources allow.”
US Embassy Counselor Don Heflin acknowledged on September 30 that there are Americans with H and L visas who haven’t been able to visit their families since the pandemic began.
He stated that “…we sympathize with them a lot. We are going to, sometime in the next few weeks, open 100,000 appointments in the year 2023 for this category of visas. And for those of you who are interested in this and want a slot, just check our website every two or three days, every two– or three hours during October.”
The applicants were also cautioned by counsellor Heflin not to visit the website more frequently than is recommended. he said, “Don’t check it any more than that because it will lock you out. You’re locked out for 72 hours.”
US H&L Visa
The L-1 and H-1B visas are two of the most widely used non-immigrant work visas in the US. While H-1B is better suited for people who want to work for US businesses and have more flexibility in their jobs, L-1 is better suited for people who work for MNCs.
US Visa Wait Times
As of Friday, the wait times for UA’s B1 (business) and B2 (visitor) visa applicants raised to 884 days in Delhi and 872 in Mumbai, respectively for the first time. This means that the wait times are now getting close to 2.5 years!
Commenting on this long wait period Don Heflin, minister counsellor for consular affairs at the US Embassy in Delhi, stated last month:
“We’re going to work on reducing that in the next few months as well (by opening) a lot of appointments soon. There are still going to be wait times but we’re going to keep recovering and getting more and more personnel onto it. And we will head to a point where we start to cut down the wait times.”
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