US visa: Interview wait time goes up to almost 1,000 days for B1, B2 applicants in India; embassy cites staff shortage

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Interview waiting times for applicants for first-time visitor visas—B1 (business) and B2 (tourist)—are going up to nearly 1,000 days, while the average worldwide time has come down to about two months. According to the US State Department website, applicants will have to wait 999 days in Mumbai, 994 days in Hyderabad, 961 days in Delhi, 948 days in Chennai and 904 days in Kolkata. This means that a first time B1 or B2 visa applicant from India may get an interview date in 2025.

The US State Department said in a media release, “As of November 2022, the worldwide average wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) interview appointment is approximately two months, and applicants with urgent travel needs who meet certain criteria , they can apply for an emergency appointment, usually available within days.

The website further reads, “We are committed to continuing our progress and reducing visa interview appointment wait times as soon as possible.”

The US Embassy reported that wait times for nonimmigrant visa applicants have increased since March 2020 due to reductions in workforce and coronavirus-related restrictions in operations. As of March 2020, appointment demand is high across all visa categories and wait times for most routine nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S. Embassy New Delhi and consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai may be longer.

However, this wait is limited to only those applicants who do not qualify for the drop box application or interview waiver in India. The drop box facility refers to the process of applying for renewal of a US visa without an interview and applies to business and tourism (B1/B2 visas), work (H1-B and L visas), other visas, and students and exchange visitors. Keeps the are eligible for this facility.

Amid potential delays in visa processing, the State Department said it processed 94 percent of nonimmigrant visas in fiscal year 2019 through the end of fiscal year 2022 and 130 percent of nonimmigrant visas at the end of fiscal year 2022 compared to fiscal year 2019. Visa processed. It said US embassies globally continue to add more staff abroad, but have implemented measures that allow them to do more with fewer resources.

Read also: US B1 and B2 visa appointments open after two years: Interviews, details on backlog see here

Read also: H1-B Visa: What is ‘Drop Box’ facility and why America is giving it priority?

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