Steps the Department of State Is Taking to Reduce Visa Wait Times in India

March 15, 2023

This year, the U.S. government has taken several steps to reduce the significant wait times for visas in India. These steps have already shown promising results. For example, visa-seeking individuals have seen a drop in wait times. However, in some cases, people have waited upwards of two years.

According to a Bureau of Consular Affairs representative, India is the agency’s number one priority. As such, they have committed to solving the delays those seeking visas or visa appointments face. As a result, the Bureau has already issued 36% more visas this year than before COVID-19. These results mark significant progress.

Here are some steps the U.S. government is taking to reduce wait times.

  1. Domestic Visa Stamping: Starting this fall, the U.S. Department of State announced plans to launch a pilot program. It would allow H and L visa holders to renew their visas within the United States. As a result, H and L workers no longer need to leave the U.S. and wait for a visa appointment for renewal. This program will reduce the load on consular offices located within India.
  2. Permitting Other Embassies to Accept Visa Applicants: To reduce the burden on embassies within the country, the State Department will allow other embassies to take on visa applicants from India. This permission means those traveling to another country can schedule an appointment at U.S. missions located in that country.
  3. Opening Up Saturdays: Consulates in India have opened on certain Saturdays for initial visa applicants and interviews. These additional appointment dates will continue to reduce the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Remote Processing: The Department of State has introduced remote processing for prior visa holders eligible for interview waivers. The State Department announced it would add dozens of additional consular officers to handle the increased caseload to increase remote processing capability.

These are some of the most significant steps that have reduced the backlog of cases and considerable wait times. Currently, wait times remain high for employers and beneficiaries waiting for visa appointments. However, they have continued to drop as these measures have slowly reduced backlogs.

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