‘Saturday interviews’, ‘extended hours’: Amid ‘1.5 years’ wait time, here’s how you can get US visa faster

In a bid to cut the US visa wait time from India, the US embassy and its consulates in the country have initiated several measures, including special Saturday interview days, remote processing of interview waiver cases and more. 

For Indians applying for work visas, the wait time currently ranges from 60-280 days while the wait time for visitors is approximately 1.5 years. In comparison, it is just about 20 days from European cities, and 30-35 days from Beijing and Colombo. 

Informing about the new measures, the embassy in a recent release said it has launched ‘special Saturday interview days’. “The United States Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad all 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,” it also adds. 

The embassy also mentions that ‘Saturday interview’ is just ‘one component of a multi-pronged initiative’ to reduce the wait time. Here are a look at some other measures.

  • The Department of State has 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 Department of State 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 US mission said its services in India had been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, creating a large backlog. It affected several Indian businesses and thousands of Indians who rely on the visa to live and work in the US.

Consulate General Mumbai currently adjudicates the most visa applications in India and is one of the largest visa operations in the world. “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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