As you may be aware that the wait times for appointments for the US B1 and B2 (business and tourist) visas for Indian citizens have been extremely long, ranging from 589 days in Kolkata to 638 days in Mumbai.
However, the wait for these visas may soon be over, as Indians can now apply for the US visa at select American embassies around the world.
US Visas Appointments At Foreign Missions
Informing about the developments, the US Embassy in India on Friday in a social media post said that the US Embassy in Bangkok has opened B1/B2 appointments for Indian nationals.
“Do you have upcoming international travel? If so, you may be able to get a visa appointment at 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,” US Embassy Twitted.
Do you have upcoming international travel? If so, you may be able to get a visa appointment at 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. pic.twitter.com/tjunlBqeYu
— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) February 3, 2023
First-time applicants and people whose visas expired more than four years ago are not eligible for the interview waiver. Those who are eligible can apply at select American embassies abroad to reduce the long wait period in India.
Embassies Offering Faster Visa Processing
As we mentioned, The US Embassy in Bangkok has opened B1/B2 appointments for Indians and it is one of the select American embassies that offer a faster visa processing time for Indians.
Notably, the visa appointment wait period for B1/B2 interviews in Bangkok is only 14 days, as opposed to the long wait period in India.
US Visa Wait Times in Bangkok, Thailand
|Nonimmigrant Visa Type||Appointment Wait Time|
|Interview Required Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)||1 Calendar Day|
|Interview Required Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)||1 Calendar Day|
|Interview Required Crew and Transit (C, D, C1/D)||1 Calendar Day|
|Interview Required Visitors (B1/B2)||14 Calendar Days|
|Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors (F, M, J)||1 Calendar Day|
|Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)||1 Calendar Day|
|Interview Waiver Crew and Transit (C, D, C1/D)||2 Calendar Days|
|Interview Waiver Visitors (B1/B2)||3 Calendar Days|
People who need to travel to the US urgently have been travelling to third countries to get an appointment for an American visa due to the long wait period in India. Places like Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam have been popular among Indians for faster visa processing.
“Drop Box” Applications
The US has started sending some “drop box” applications from Indians to its missions outside India as a measure to reduce the visa interview wait time, which reached almost 1,000 days for B1/B2 cases late last year.
Reduction in Wait Period
More Indian visa applicants are now eligible for interview waiver, which has resulted in a significant reduction of wait period for interview-required B1/B2 applicants to 638 in Mumbai, 617 in Chennai, 609 in Hyderabad, 596 in Delhi, and 589 in Kolkata.
Increased Processing Capacity
In its efforts to reduce the visa wait times in India, the US embassy in Delhi has reported that they processed over 1 lakh visa applications this January, which is more than in any month since July 2019 and one of their highest monthly totals ever. Their capacity is expected to increase even further as their team grows this spring.
Cause of High Wait Period
The waiting period for visas has been due to various factors, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to foreign consulates sending their staff back home and retaining only a skeletal workforce.
When India-US travel reopened around 2021, there was the highest demand for visas across categories, but consulate staffing is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels only this summer.
The wait for a US visa for Indians may soon be over, as people can now apply at select American embassies abroad to reduce the long wait period in India.
The US embassy in Delhi is increasing its processing capacity and is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels this summer. Foreign Minister S Jaishankar raised this issue with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last September.
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