The processing time for US visas for India will be reduced to mid-2023
The wait for US visas is expected to drop significantly by the summer of 2023, with the number projected to reach about 1.2 million, a senior US embassy official said Thursday.
“India is Washington’s number one priority (for issuing visas). Our aim is to bring the situation down to Covid-19 levels by the middle of next year,” the official said.
India has been one of the few countries to see a surge in applications for US visas since the lifting of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Given the long wait times for visas, the US is also launching a number of initiatives, including hiring more staff and increasing “drop box” capabilities, the official said.
About one million visas are planned to be issued each month.
The official said that the US has already made H (H1B) and L category visas for Indians its top priority and recently about 1,00,000 slots have been released for those who want to renew their visas.
The waiting period for some categories has already been reduced to nine months from 450 days earlier.
The official said the waiting time for B1, B2 (business and tourist) visas is also being reduced from about nine months.
The official also said that India is expected to move to second place from the current third place in the number of visas issued by the US. Currently, Mexico and China are ahead of India.
The official said that priority is also being given to reducing the waiting period for student visas, especially for those who wish to extend their visas.
The process used to apply for a US visa extension without a visa interview is known as the drop box facility.
Generally, applicants with a US visa within the last four years are eligible for drop box.
The USA has issued about 82,000 visas in the last year.
“By next summer, we are looking at 1.1 to 1.2 million visas for Indians,” the official said.
India is discussing the long wait for US visas with the US.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)
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