US Visa Appointment Wait Time Down 75%

US Visa Appointment Wait Time Down 75%

US issued record 1.4 million visas to Indians in 2023. The average wait time for visitor visa appointments came down from 1,000 days to a much more manageable 250 days across India.

In 2023, the United States achieved a historic milestone by processing a record number of visas in India, significantly reducing wait times for visitor visa appointments by 75%. This remarkable accomplishment was the result of a strategic combination of increased staffing, innovative solutions, and enhanced operational efficiency.

Over the course of the year, the US embassy and consulates in India successfully processed 1.4 million visas, marking Indians as one in every 10 visa applicants globally. The demand for visas experienced an unprecedented surge, with a notable 60% increase in applications compared to the previous year.

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Visitor visas, specifically B1 and B2 visas, constituted over 700,000 applications, making them the second-highest category of visa applications for the US. The surge in demand was met through a three-month staffing surge in Mumbai, an increase in permanent staff levels, and the implementation of innovative technical solutions. As a result, the average appointment wait time for visitor visas across India was reduced from 1,000 days to 250 days.

In 2023, the US missions in India issued over 140,000 student visas, setting a record for the third consecutive year and establishing Indian students as the largest group of international graduate students in the US. The top four student visa processing posts globally are now Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai.

Employment visas remained a top priority, and the US consular team in India consolidated petition-based visa processing in Chennai and Hyderabad. This strategic move increased efficiency and led to the processing of more than 380,000 employment visas for Indians and their family members. The streamlined process also maintained a minimal appointment wait time for these visas.

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The US consulate general in Mumbai successfully cleared a backlog of more than 31,000 immigrant visa cases that were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, individuals with pending immigrant visa petitions can now secure appointments within the standard, pre-pandemic appointment window.

Looking ahead, the United States is committed to further enhancing consular services in India. This includes the inauguration of a new $340-million facility in Hyderabad in March of the previous year, the announcement of new consulates in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, ongoing capital improvements for facilities across India, and the permanent assignment of additional consular officers to the country. The US aims to continue investing in the future of consular services in India, exploring ways to provide more efficient and convenient services to visa applicants. Additionally, a pilot program in 2024 will allow eligible H1B holders to renew their visas in the US, further streamlining the process for this specific group.

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