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U.S. Embassy Initiative To Reduce Visa Processing Wait Time For Indians

If you want to get a USA visa for Indians, there is good news because the U.S. embassy has taken several steps to reduce the waiting time. 

The U.S. Embassy in India and its Consulates in India have recently started several steps to cut down on visa processing time. 

Indians will soon be able to make appointments at some U.S. embassies in other countries to apply for visas to enter the U.S. The service will be available for Indian citizens applying for tourist or business visas who don’t qualify for an interview waiver (first-time applicants or people whose visas ended more than four years ago). 

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U.S. Embassy Announcement 

The United States Embassy in India announced on Twitter on 3rd February that Indian citizens traveling outside the country can submit an appointment request at an American embassy or consulate outside of India.

By using Bangkok as an example, the report highlighted that the capital of Thailand can now provide U.S. visas of both the B1 and B2 categories to Indian citizens.

“Do you have any upcoming international travel plans? If so, you may be able to get a visa appointment in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your destination. For example, @USEmbassyBKK has opened B1/B2 appointment capacity for Indians who will be in Thailand in the coming months,” the embassy tweeted.

Measures the U.S. has taken to solve the visa processing backlog

To reduce the time it takes to process visas, the United States government has implemented several new initiatives, one of which is to simplify the application process for people applying for their first visa. They also addressed the low numbers of consular workers and stated that they have been working toward strengthening the strength of the force. 

“Special Saturday interview days” were also held in the U.S. consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata as part of the same campaign at the U.S. embassy in Delhi.

Additionally, to facilitate the scheduling of additional appointments, the General Consulate in Mumbai has extended its business hours on weekdays. 

According to the mission, the United States Department of State plans to enhance the number of consular officers permanently assigned to offices in India in the near future.

To further enhance its capacity for processing applications, the organization plans to hire dozens of temporary consular employees from Washington and other embassies by the end of March.

The United States mission in India said, “The U.S. mission has made it a priority to facilitate legitimate travel and adjudicated over 800,000 non-immigrant visas in 2022, including record numbers of both student and employment visas.” The statement was about the fact that the mission prioritized facilitating legitimate travel.

In addition, it stated that it would be releasing an additional 250,000 appointments for B1/B2 visas in 2022. These visas are essential for visitors.

Why USA is taking these Measures

The move is being made to reduce the massive backlog of visa appointment requests. There has been a significant rise in the number of applications from people living in India. 

The lengthy wait time might be attributed to several different causes. Due to the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, many foreign consulates around the world had to downsize their workers to survive. In March 2020, the United States stopped practically all visa processing worldwide.

As of November of the previous year, the waiting period for B1/B2 visa appointments for Indians had increased to around three years. This was after two years of the COVID pandemic and a reduction in staff strength at U.S. missions. 

Although the waiting period for a student visa (F-1) has been cut down to roughly 90 days, the waiting period for business and tourist visas (B-1, B-2) is still long. It can reach almost two years in most consulates around the country. 

Highest Indian visa processing in January 

According to a statement released by the United States Embassy in India on 4th February 4, United States Mission in India processed more than one lakh visa applications in January, the highest monthly number since July 2019. 

According to John Ballard, the chief of consular operations at the United States Consulate General in Mumbai, the United States embassy and its consulates have been preparing to receive many visa applications from Indian students in 

2023.

The U.S. embassy processed over one million and twenty-five thousand student visa applications in 2022. “It was the most students that we have ever adjudicated here in India, and we expect in 2023, we will have even more Indian students that will be coming into apply for visas,” Ballard said. “It was the most students that we have ever adjudicated anywhere in the world.”

Jitaditya Narzary

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