US consulates in India aim to issue 800,000 visas in next 12 months
As US visa stamping and issuing of new visas remains a hot button topic for Indians post the pandemic, American mission in India is working to clear some confusion regarding how the visa situation is likely to look like in the coming months.
The US Consulate in Chennai hosted a live Q and A session on Tuesday with Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs for India, answering queries about visa appointments and consulate operations.
Read: US to make 20,000 drop box interview waiver appointments in India (January 7, 2022)
One of the major takeaways from the session for those hoping to book a visa appointment included the news that the US embassy and consulates have a goal to issue about 800,000 visas in the next 12 months.
With this encouraging news comes the update that US missions in India plan to operate at about two-thirds of their capacity for 2022. So, one can still expect some delays.
It was clarified that the consulates cannot as yet work full capacity due to staffing issues, budget, hiring people and other Covid induced restrictions.
It was also made clear that drop box appointments are mandatory and there are no plans for US consulates to go back to walk-in for dropbox like in previous years. The bad news comes in the form of the update that the dropbox slots are maxed out for summer.
While many hoping for visa stamping dropbox appointments were looking at the window of June-August when schools in the US go on a summer break, it looks like the wait for them would continue as at the moment there are no plans to increase the capacity for summer.
If you are an H or L visa holder, you may get lucky later this year as there are plans to open slots later in September 2022.
However, there is no harm in checking every now and then as they may open some slots as capacity permits.