The United States maintains diplomatic relations with India through its embassies and consulates located across the country. As the demand for visas to the United States increases, the US Consulates have been working to streamline their visa application processes and reduce wait times for Indian applicants.
Here’s a roundup of the latest developments from US Consulates in India:
The new US Consulate in Hyderabad’s Nanakaramguda is now South Asia’s biggest Consulate, spread over 12 acres of land and with 54 windows to process up to 3,500 visa applications every day. The consulate provides services to US citizens, processes visas, represents the US government, and builds relationships with local officials and business leaders.
While the wait times for tourist and business visa appointments have dropped below a year in Mumbai (332 days) and Kolkata (357 days), applicants opting for Chennai may still need to wait for almost two years, 680 days to be exact. The US Embassy in New Delhi has the shortest wait for tourist and business visa appointments – 247 days. For F-1 student visas, Kolkata has a wait time of 78 days, Mumbai has 73 days, Delhi has 74 days, and Chennai has 58 days.
The US Consulate General in Chennai is still struggling to keep up with the long visa wait times. However, the US State Department has been taking steps to reduce visa wait times for Indians, including moving workers from other departments around the world to visa offices in India. The department had taken steps such as waiving interview requirements for regular travelers and opening other US embassies/consulates to take Indian applicants.
As part of a multi-pronged approach to cut the visa backlog, the US embassy in Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad conducted “special Saturday interview days” on January 21, with more such interviews planned in the future. The mission will continue to open “additional slots” for appointments to take place on select Saturdays in the coming months.
The US State Department has implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous US visas. Between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase visa processing capacity.
The US mission in India released more than 250,000 additional B1/B2 appointments. The Consulate General in Mumbai also extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments.
Overall, the United States is taking several steps to improve its visa application process for Indian applicants. While wait times are still high in some areas, the US Consulates in India are working hard to streamline their processes and reduce wait times wherever possible.