Headline, Immigration

US opens new visitor visa appointment slots in India

Aircraftopenings in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai in December aimed at facilitating holiday travel

To facilitate holiday travel, the United States has opened a number of new appointment slots for B1/B2 visa applicants, who are eligible for interview waivers, for December in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

“Looking for a B1/B2 interview waiver (dropbox) visa appointment? Good news! We’ve opened a number of B1/B2 interview waiver appointments for the coming month in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Book now in time for holiday travel,” the US Embassy in New Delhi tweeted on Monday.

Read: Appointments for B1/B2 US visitor visa opening in January (December 1, 2021)

The current wait time for an appointment for B1/B2 interview waiver appointments is 233 days in Delhi, 297 in Mumbai and 171 days in Chennai. Applicants can opt for the interview waiver program if they are renewing any visa (including B1/B2 visas) within 48 months of expiration.

For first-time applicants for the US business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visitor visas, wait time has touched almost three years, for those not eligible for interview waivers. “The global median wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) interview appointment is under two months as of this month,” according to the US State Department.

To address the growing backlog, the US has made more applicants eligible for interview waiver, sending drop box cases abroad for adjudication and getting temporary staffers.

While students get top priority in admission season, next on the list is expediting drop box cases for skilled workers, repeat B1/B2 visa seekers (whose visas expired within four years of application that now makes them eligible for interview waiver) and crew. It could possibly be several months before the interview wait time for B1/B2 starts dropping.

Read: B1/B2 visa appointments can take up to 14 months (June 18, 2022)

The US expects the processing times to rebound faster than projected and expects it to reach pre-pandemic levels in Fiscal Year 2023.

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