The U.S. diplomatic missions in India have launched a set of measures to reduce wait times for U.S-bound Indian visa applicants and expedite visa processing across the country.
The U.S. embassy and its consulates have launched the first in a series of special Saturday interview days.
The United States Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad have opened consular operations on Saturday to accommodate applicants who require in-person visa interviews. In the coming months, the Mission will continue to open additional slots for appointments to take place on select Saturdays, the Embassy said in a press release.
The State Department has also implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous U.S. visas.
Between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase processing capacity.
The State Department is also increasing the number of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates.
The U.S. Mission in India released more than 250,000 additional B1/B2 appointments.
Consulate General Mumbai also extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments.
The U.S. Mission in India said that by this summer, it will be at full staffing and expects to process visa applications at pre-Covid levels.
The U.S. mission said the new measures are to clear a large backlog in its services in India that were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The current wait-time for Indian visitors to get a visa approval is between 500 to 600 days.
Such long delays affected several Indian business groups and individuals who rely on the visa to live and work in the United States.
Consulate General Mumbai, which is one of the largest visa operations in the world, currently adjudicates the most visa applications in India.
“Our consular teams across India are putting in the extra hours to meet the needs of international travelers and bring down wait times,” said Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard. “This is part of a Mission wide effort to find innovative solutions to facilitate travel to the United States.”
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