Most US consulates and embassies across the globe have had major reductions and delays in visa processing owing to tremendous backlogs induced by the pandemic. The situation in India is no different and perhaps even worse – visa applicants, particularly first-time applicants have been encountering extremely long wait times. The good news is that the US government has provided some much-needed relief.
In an effort to cut back the very lengthy appointment wait times, the US Mission to India, on January 21, launched ‘Special Saturday Interviews’ which accommodate applicants who require in-person visa interviews. Additional slots for appointments are to take place on select Saturdays in the upcoming months.
Also, to counteract the excessively long wait times and increase visa processing capacity, the Mission is implementing remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous US visas, and bringing in temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies from January through March this year. Additionally, its increasing its operating hours through the week to provide more appointment slots.
More than 2,50,000 additional B1/B2 appointments have been released which will significantly reduce the almost two-year wait time that first time applicants have been facing in this visa category.
Reportedly, the US mission in India is expected to be at full staffing and processing visas at pre-pandemic capacity by this summer. In 2022, Indian posts adjudicated over 8,00,000 nonimmigrant visas including record numbers of both student and employment visas.
D&A will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and the steps the various posts are taking to mitigate processing delays and will update as more information become available.
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