India is now the number one priority for us Visas: Embassy

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“We are looking at 1.1 to 1.2 million Indian visas by next summer,” a senior US embassy official said. For some categories, the waiting time has already been reduced from 450 days to around nine months.

India is the number one priority for Washington right now when it comes to visas, a senior US embassy official said Nov. 10. The official added that the wait time for obtaining a US visa will see a significant reduction by the summer of 2023.

Ideally, Washington hopes to return the situation to pre-COVID levels by mid-2023.

The number of visas issued each month is estimated at one lakh. Last year, the United States granted more than 82,000 visas. Indian applications for US visas have increased significantly after the lifting of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus.

“We are looking at 1.1 to 1.2 million visas for Indians by next summer,” the official said.

The official noted that in view of the prolonged wait times for visa processing, the United States is also launching a variety of initiatives, including increasing staff and expanding “drop box” facilities. “. Dropbox cases are requests where interviews are not required

For some categories, the waiting time has already dropped from 450 days to around nine months, the official said on Thursday (November 10).

In September during a Facebook and Instagram Live via U.S. Embassy India, Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, U.S. Embassy, said the embassy was understaffed due to the pandemic, which was the reason for the longer wait times. He said that to tackle the wait time, the embassy was going to reach 100% staff and also hire temporary consultants.

According to the latest data from the US Department of State and Bureau of Consular Affairs website, there is an appointment wait time of over 800 days for nonimmigrant visitor visa applicants to the United States. in India.

India is expected to move into second place in terms of the number of visas granted by the United States. The official noted that there is also a focus on reducing wait times for student visas, especially for those applying for visa renewals, adding that India is now lagging behind Mexico and China. .

According to the official, the United States previously gave priority to Indians for H (H1B) and L category visas, and recently one million places have become available for them. The official also said that the waiting period for B1, B2 (business and tourist) visas, which is usually nine months, is being shortened.

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