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Visas & Passports

US Visa: More Visa Applicants Now Eligible for Interview Waiver

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In an effort to reduce the unbelievably long visa wait times, the US has made more visa applicants eligible for interview waivers and will, for the first time, send some of these “drop box” applications from India abroad for adjudication.

According to a senior official at the US Embassy in India, anyone who has previously obtained a US visa will be eligible for a visa interview waiver for student, business, and tourist visas.

In addition, applicants with B1 and B2 visas that have expired within the last four years are eligible for a visa waiver.

This will allow the consulate staff in India, which is gradually being increased, to address the massive backlog, as the appointment waiting period for first-time B1 (business)/B2 (tourism) visa applicants in Mumbai is just under 1,000 days, at 975.

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Interview Waiver for Student Visa

The “dropbox” facility, used to renew a US visa without an in-person interview, will now be expanded to include student visas, business and tourist visas, and skilled worker visas.

Aside from removing the requirement for in-person interviews for certain categories of applicants for student and other visas, the US embassy is increasing staff and sending dropbox cases to other locations to reduce wait times.

According to a US Embassy official, the wait time has already been reduced from 450 days to around nine months.

“If student, H & L applicants had a US visa of any category irrespective of when it expired, they can use the drop box. As a result, several young Indians who have been to America on a tourist visa earlier will now be eligible for an interview waiver while applying for a student visa in most cases. They may be called for biometrics if the same were not taken during earlier visit/s,” said the US Embassy official, adding a “pretty good” number of Indian student visa applicants had been to the US earlier on tourist visas.

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Also Read: US Embassy Plans to Issue 1 Lakh Visas to Indian Applicants Every Month

India, 3rd largest recipient of US visas

“India is the number one priority for Washington. (Before Covid) in normal years, the maximum demand for US visas used to come from Mexico, China and then India. Now till China lifts travel restrictions, India has jumped to the second spot. We anticipate granting the maximum number of visas to Indians this year too,” said the official.

India is the third-largest country regarding the total number of US visas granted annually. Mexico and China are listed in the top two positions. In terms of the number of US visas, India is anticipated to overtake China and move up to the second spot.

You may also like: US Visa Wait Times Will Be Reduced By Next Summer: US Embassy

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US Visa Wait Times in India

In India, there are four US Consulates and one embassy. The US embassy is in New Delhi, and the consulates are in Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Currently, the wait time for a visa appointment at an embassy or consulate is as follows (Updated as on November 13, 2022)

US Visa Wait Times in Delhi Embassy
Nonimmigrant Visa TypeAppointment Wait Time
Interview Required Visitors (B1/B2)925 Calendar Days
Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)43 Calendar Days
Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)317 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Visitors (B1/B2)291 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)43 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)305 Calendar Days
US Visa Wait Times in Mumbai Consulate
Nonimmigrant Visa TypeAppointment Wait Time
Interview Required Visitors (B1/B2)975 Calendar Days
Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)42 Calendar Days
Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)340 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Visitors (B1/B2)353 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)92 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)303 Calendar Days
US Visa Wait Times in Hyderabad Consulate
Nonimmigrant Visa TypeAppointment Wait Time
Interview Required Visitors (B1/B2)787 Calendar Days
Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)14 Calendar Days
Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)350 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Visitors (B1/B2)206 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)92 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)326 Calendar Days
US Visa Wait Times in Chennai Consulate
Nonimmigrant Visa TypeAppointment Wait Time
Interview Required Visitors (B1/B2)912 Calendar Days
Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)42 Calendar Days
Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)378 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Visitors (B1/B2)120 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)10 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)305 Calendar Days
US Visa Wait Times in Kolkata Consulate
Nonimmigrant Visa TypeAppointment Wait Time
Interview Required Visitors (B1/B2)812 Calendar Days
Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)10 Calendar Days
Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)310 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Visitors (B1/B2)177 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)50 Calendar Days
Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)304 Calendar Days

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