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US embassy speeds up visa process for Indian nationals

The US Embassy in Delhi and the consulates are conducting Saturday interviews to reduce delays in issuing visas

In order to reduce delays in issuing visiting visas to Indian nationals, the  US embassy in Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad have started conducting “special Saturday interview days” and also plan to increase their staff strength to speed up the process.

“On January 21, the US mission in India launched the first in a series of special Saturday interview days, as part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants,” the US embassy said in a statement on Sunday.

“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,” it said in a statement.

The mission will continue to open additional slots for appointments to take place on select Saturdays in the coming months, the statement said.

“These additional interview days are just one component of a multi-pronged initiative to address the backlog in visa processing caused by COVID-19,” it said.

Between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase visa processing capacity, it said.

Besides, the US State Department has implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous US visas, according to the statement..

The US mission in India released more than 2,50,000 additional appointments for the B1 business visa and  B-2 tourism visa.

The mission said the Consulate General in Mumbai also extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments.

“By this summer, the US mission in India will be at full staffing, and we expect to be processing visas at levels from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the embassy said.

The statement said as travel restrictions have been lifted, the mission to India has made it a priority to facilitate legitimate travel and adjudicated over 8,00,000 non-immigrant visas in 2022, including record numbers of both student and employment visas.

“In every other visa category, interview wait times in India are at pre-pandemic levels or lower,” the statement added.