For Those in Long Visa Interview Queues Travel May Be the Answer

For Those in Long Visa Interview Queues Travel May Be the Answer
April 18, 2023

In regions like India, thousands of individuals waiting for employment-based visas have waited years to receive an interview date. Unfortunately, many H-1B, L-1, and even B-1 and B-2 visitor visas require these interviews.

Due to these significant delays, U.S. authorities have voiced some approval of a new method of speeding up the process. This method requires the affected individuals to travel to a third country with shorter wait times. Once there, they can schedule an interview with the U.S. Consulate faster than staying in regions with longer waits. This method would significantly reduce the waiting period for these individuals.

Regulators, such as the State Department, have taken some action on this front. For example, they now forward some “drop box” applications from overburdened consulates to missions in other countries for processing. Another step regulators have taken includes expanding interview waivers. 

However, these options remain unavailable in many cases. For example, first-time visa applicants and those with visas that expired over four years ago could not take advantage of these options. Others unable to benefit from these recommendations include thousands of Indians unable to qualify for an interview waiver. As such, they must wait in queues that could force them to wait years for an interview date. Late last year, these wait times exceeded 1,000 days for B-1 and B-2 visas.

For those eligible and able to afford travel, going to a third country with shorter wait times for an interview has become an increasingly popular option. For example, over 50,000 individuals seeking a visa interview from India have already taken advantage of this method. In addition, embassy officials mentioned arrangements made with the U.S. embassies in less overburdened countries that would help accommodate travelers seeking visas.

Among the most popular alternatives for Indians include Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Vietnam. Wait times in these countries typically hover at less than 30 days. For example, the wait time for a B-1 or B-2 interview in Bangkok often takes 14 days. As a result, this tactic can significantly improve wait times for impacted individuals.

Though the wait time for the interview may prove shorter, applicants must restart the application process. They must also remain in the selected destination throughout the interview process until completion. They must also pay their visa fee at the destination. Despite the potential rise in visa processing costs, many applicants and potential employers may decide that this option is worth their time.

After completing the visa process, individuals will receive their employment authorization. Employers must then verify this authorization via the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9), as required for all employees. This step typically proves challenging due to the many identifying documents that employees may present. 

One of the best ways to ensure uniform compliance throughout the process is to incorporate an electronic I-9 management system. This tool will provide step-by-step guidance, easy-to-use storage, and a suite of other useful features.

When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.