Good News For US Visa Applicants From India

The United States has launched a multi-faceted initiative to reduce the backlog of visa processing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes scheduling special visa interviews on Saturdays and deploying dozens of temporary staff to assist in the process.

The first special Saturday interview day, which is part of a wider effort to decrease wait times for first-time visa applicants, was held on January 21st by the US Embassy in New Delhi and the Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. The interviews are for applicants who require in-person visa interviews.

The US Embassy has stated that in the coming months, more slots for appointments on select Saturdays will be available. The department has also announced plans to increase its processing capacity by deploying dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies to India between January and March 2023.

Additionally, the number of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates in India is also being increased. The US mission has also released more than 250,000 additional B1 and B2 visa appointments and extended weekday operating hours at the Consulate in Mumbai to accommodate more appointments.

The United States is currently focusing its efforts on addressing the backlog of student visa applications, after issuing more than 82,000 visas to Indian students in 2022. However, the focus is now shifting to reducing wait times for non-immigrant work visas, including the H and L categories, such as the H-1B, B-1 business visa, B-2 tourism visa, and visas for crews of shipping companies and airlines.