US Mission Introduces New Initiative to Reduce Wait Times on Indian Visa Applications


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Jan 23, 2023 11:22 AM IST

To cut down on the wait times for popular US visa categories, the US embassies have announced a multi-pronged approach. Among the prongs includes providing additional slots for first-time applicants on specific Saturdays to bring the visa processing wait times down to pre-pandemic levels by this summer.

US Mission Introduces New Initiative to Reduce Wait Times on Indian Visa Applications

With the demand for US visas constantly rising since the travel restrictions were removed, increased delays in interview appointments and visa processing have been witnessed. Addressing the issue, the US has introduced several new initiatives allowing for special interviews for first-time applicants, while increasing the staff strength at consular offices.

The US embassies in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai organised “Special Saturday Interview Days” on January 21, this year. Releasing a statement, the US embassy revealed that this initiative had been introduced as a more significant effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants.

While the special Saturday interview days began in January this year, the US mission to India is expected to provide additional slots for in-person visa appointments on specific Saturdays in the coming months in a bid to address the visa processing delays.

Also Read: USCIS Offers Premium Processing of Selected Visa Classes, Includes Student Visas

In their statement, it was revealed that this initiative is part of “a multi-pronged initiative” addressing the backlog in visa processing due to the pandemic. It added that the US State Department had begun remote processing of interview waiver cases for those who previously received a US visa.

The US mission to India further announced that several temporary consular offices from Washington and other embassies are expected to arrive in India between January and March 2023, in a bid to increase the visa processing capacity.

According to the statement from the Consulate General in Mumbai, its offices had extended the weekday operating hours to accommodate additional appointments. The embassy has stated that the US Mission in India will attain full staffing and be back to pre-pandemic levels of visa processing by 2023 summer.

Also Read: USA Magnetised 2 Lakh Indians for Higher Education in 2021-22: 19% Hike Reported

Further reiterating the dedication of the US missions to India in prioritising the facilitation of legitimate travel to the country. Furthermore, the US missions had adjudicated more than 8 lakh non-immigrant visas in 2022 alone, which included “record numbers of both student and employment visas”. According to reports, over 2.5 lac additional B1/B2 visa appointments had been released by the US Mission in India.

However, the reports have also revealed that the wait times in India for every other visa category had been at pre-pandemic levels or lower. Currently, the Consulate General in Mumbai adjudicates the highest number of visa applications in India and is considered the largest visa operation in the world.

Need Help Preparing for US Student Visa Interviews?

Source: NDTV

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