U.S. Visa Appointments: U.S. Embassy Opens 100,000 Visa Appointments for H&L Workers

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The United States has opened 100,000 visa slots for H and L work visa applicants, prioritizing first-time applicants.

“Thousands of applicants have already booked appointments and the waiting time for interview waiver and first appointments has been cut in half across Mission India. This mass opening of appointments reflects our continued commitment to H&L workers,” the US Embassy in India said in a tweet.

“In the first nine months of 2022, the U.S. Mission in India has already processed more than 160,000 H&L visas and we will continue to prioritize H&L workers for visa appointments as resources allow.” , the embassy added.

The move was first announced by Don Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy last month.

“There are people in the United States on H or L visas who have not been able to return home to visit families since Covid began, we sympathize with them,” Heflin said.

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The embassy also announced that it will take special measures to reduce waiting times for B1/B2 visas, which are used by tourists and businessmen, in the coming months.

Consular officers are now temporarily permitted, until December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain individual nonimmigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives in the following categories:

  • Persons in Skilled Occupations (H-1B visas)
  • Special education interns or visitors (H-3 visas)
  • Intra-company transfers (L visas)
  • People with Extraordinary Abilities or Achievements (O visas)
  • Athletes, performers and performers (P visas)
  • Participants in international cultural exchange programs (Q visas)

Additionally, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has extended the current ability for consular officials to waive in-person interview, through December 31, 2022, for the following other nonimmigrant visa categories: agricultural workers and temporary non-farm (H-2), students (F and M visas) and student exchange visitors (Academic J visas).

“We recognize the many contributions international visitors make to our communities and campuses. Finally, permission to waive the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of visa expiration previous has been extended indefinitely,” the release added.

The waiting period for Indians seeking a visitor visa to the United States has increased to 800 days, according to the US State Department website. The waiting period is nearly 400 days for student/exchange visitor visas and other non-immigrant visas.

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