For many, a trip to the United States is a long-cherished dream, but the wait to secure a visa interview appointment in India has become a significant hurdle. In some Indian consulates, the waiting time for a US visa interview appointment has stretched to nearly 1,000 days.
However, there is hope for certain categories of travellers who can secure appointments within a week or two, as per the latest data from the US Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Varied Wait Times Across Categories
B1/B2 Category Visas
For those applying for B1/B2 visas, the wait time in Chennai is as short as one calendar day, while in Delhi, it extends to 16 days. In stark contrast, Kolkata has a staggering estimated waiting time of 440 days, while some consulates are reporting an agonizing 999-day wait.
An encouraging development is that the US has extended the interview waiver facility for more non-immigrant visa applicants. This means that visitors in the B1/B2 categories can now secure a visa interview appointment within six days at the US consulate in Chennai.
These visas cater to individuals seeking temporary entry into the US for business (B1) tourism (B2), or a combination of both.
C, D, C1, D Category Visas
Travellers seeking visas under the C, D, C1, or D categories, primarily designed for non-immigrants working aboard commercial sea vessels, enjoy a remarkably swift appointment process in Hyderabad, with a wait time of just one calendar day.
Even those who require interviews (including applicants eligible for interview waivers in these categories) can expect an appointment within a day.
US student visa applicants and exchange visitors face varying waiting times. The US consulate in Chennai reports a wait of 64 days for these applicants, while the Hyderabad consulate has a longer waiting period of 325 days.
These wait times are subject to change based on demand and administrative processes. Aspiring travellers are advised to monitor the US Department of State-Bureau of Consular Affairs website regularly for updates.
US embassy in India working to reduce visa wait times
The US embassy in India is working to reduce visa wait times for all categories of applicants. In a recent statement, the embassy said that it is “committed to providing timely and efficient visa services to all applicants.”
The embassy has taken a number of steps to reduce wait times, including increasing staffing levels and expanding the availability of interview slots. The embassy has also extended the interview waiver facility for more non-immigrant visa applicants, which will help to reduce wait times for B1/B2 visa applicants.
Tips for reducing your US visa wait time
If you are planning to apply for a US visa, there are a few things you can do to reduce your wait time:
- Apply early. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to get an appointment sooner.
- Be flexible with your travel dates. If you are able to travel during the off-season, you are more likely to get an appointment sooner.
- Consider applying at a different consulate. The wait times for visa appointments can vary depending on the consulate. If you are able to travel to a different consulate, you may be able to get an appointment sooner.
- Check the US embassy website regularly for updates on visa wait times and availability.
The US visa wait time in India varies depending on the visa category. However, the US embassy is working to reduce wait times for all categories of applicants. If you are planning to apply for a US visa, there are a few things you can do to reduce your wait time.