In an effort to decrease the wait time for US visas, particularly for the B1/B2 categories, the US embassy and consulates in India have initiated special Saturday interviews and remote interview waiver processing.
It is important to note that Indians applying for work visas must wait between 60 and 280 days, whereas those applying for visitor visas must wait approximately one and a half years.
In contrast, the wait time for individuals from European cities is only 20 days, while those from Beijing and Colombo must wait between 30 and 35 days.
Special Interview Days on Saturday
Recently, the US embassy announced the implementation of “special Saturday interview days” in an effort to reduce visa processing times. Saturday in-person visa interviews are now open at the embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad.
As part of a multi-pronged effort to reduce wait times, the US embassy has stated that it will continue to offer additional interview appointment slots on certain Saturdays. The embassy emphasises that the “Saturday interview” is only one component of this initiative.
More measures to decrease visa waiting times
Additionally, the US embassy is implementing the following measures to reduce visa processing times:
- Cases involving interview waivers for individuals who have previously held a U.S. visa can be remotely processed.
- Deployment of temporary consular officers from the United States and other embassies to India between January and March 2023 to increase capacity
- Increase the number of permanent consular officers at the Embassy and Consulates
- Release of more than 250,000 additional B1/B2 appointments.
- Extended weekday business hours at the Consulate General in Mumbai to accommodate an increase in appointment requests.
- The US mission in India has reported that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted its services, resulting in a significant backlog. This has impacted a large number of Indian businesses and individuals who rely on US visas for employment and residence.
The Consulate General in Mumbai, which processes the most visa applications in India and is one of the world’s largest visa operations, is implementing innovative solutions to reduce wait times.
According to Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard, consular teams throughout India are putting in extra hours to accommodate international travellers.