The new year 2023 brings exciting news for US Visa applicants in India, as wait times for US Visa Appointments have significantly decreased from almost 1000 days in late 2022 to nearly 650 days of average wait time in all of its consulates in Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai, as well as the embassy in New Delhi.
However, while the visa appointment wait times for visitor visas have decreased, the wait times for US student visas has been increased from around 50-60 days in 2022 to over 100 days at all consulates and embassies in India.
US Visa Appointment Wait Times in India
The wait time for visitor visas at the Hyderabad consulate has decreased from 994 to 261 calendar days, while it has decreased from 961 to 786 at the New Delhi Embassy.
Additionally, the wait times for visitor visas at the consulates in Chennai and Kolkata have decreased from 948 to 800 and 904 to 370 days, respectively.
|U.S. Embassy||Visitor Visa||Student/Exchange Visitor Visas|
|New Delhi||786 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
|Mumbai||999 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
|Chennai||800 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
|Hyderabad||261 Calendar Days||331 Calendar Days|
|Kolkata||370 Calendar Days||104 Calendar Days|
The effort to reduce visa waiting times in India
According to top State Department official Ned Price, the United States is making every effort to reduce wait times for visa interview appointments in India. Price also noted that the processing of visas is recovering much more quickly than expected and may reach pre-pandemic levels in 2023.
“Visa processing is recovering faster than projected and over the coming year, we expect to reach pre-pandemic processing levels,” Ned Price said. On backlog in visa applications, he said that he understands the worry of those who have to wait for a long time for the same.
“I can tell you that it is a priority of the Secretary and of the Department to do everything we can to reduce that backlog and ultimately to reduce the wait times,” he said.
Furthermore, according to Ned Price, the US broke its previous record for the number of student visas issued in a single year at its Indian embassies and consulates, issuing more in 2022 than it has since 2016.
US Extends In-Person Interview Waiver
Recently, the US government has extended the interview waiver program for nonimmigrant visa applicants, including international students and those with temporary work visas. This visa waiver extension is expected to encourage travel to the US and further reduce visa wait times, according to the US Department of State.
According to a press release issued by the US State Department, consular officers are authorised to waive in-person interviews on a case-by-case basis for certain first-time and/or renewing applicants until December 31, 2023.
These categories of visas are;
- Temporary Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Workers (H-2 visas)
- Students (F and M visas), an
- Academic Exchange Visitors (academic J visas)
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