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The US To Reduce Wait Time for Visas

Published on : January 18, 2023


The US Embassy saw a high number of student visas from India last year and expects the same this year. India globally stands as the second highest seeking international education in the US. As a result, the US embassies are striving to eliminate India's long visa processing time. A senior visa officer said that a cadre of consular officers would go to India and open the overseas embassies for Indian visa applicants.

In an interview, Deputy Assistant Security of Visa Services Julie Stufft said, "we're putting every ounce of our energy toward eliminating these (visa) wait times in India." She added that, at present, normalizing visa operations across the world is a top priority. The US Embassy is now working overtime to prioritize visitor visa interviews: visitor visas are currently the only type of visas with long wait times, said Stufft.

The US has one of the most extensive visa operations in the world. "We have many different visa types that we need to serve in India." Prominent are visas for students, tech workers, immigrants moving permanently to the US, and seafaring crew members." The US is making efforts to focus on different types of visas in India.

Stufft also states that focusing on those visa types last time resulted in considerable progress. The wait time for work visa interviews, including H1-B and L1, has been reduced from 18 months to 60 days.

The pandemic caused obstacles in visa operations - now, the processing time is faster. Stufft said the State Department is trying to cover the loss affected by the pandemic. Secretary Anthony Blinken is implementing less wait time on visa applications.

The State Department official said there is a vast demand for visa categories - the officials and staff are responsible for offering the visa appointments and meeting the demand.

Wait time for one of the visa categories is over 400 days. However, it is far less than before. Many consular officers are now moved to India on various missions to help their visa operations staff. Stufft said they are investing in a large workforce to mitigate the wait time.

Stufft announced this year's new goal, which is to take 120 calendar days to wait only for all the visa categories.

American embassies are spread over India and Germany to conduct visa appointments for Indians. The visa appointments are for Indians who are in a position to travel abroad and willing. 

Stufft said, "In particular, our posts in Germany, Thailand and a few others have set aside appointments for Indian applicants, just as if they were from that country," she said. "I understand this is not an option for everyone. But I was checking our statistics that since October, Indian applicant visa applicants have gone to 192 of our overseas offices to apply for a visa. That is stunning. That's almost all of our overseas offices overseas."

US Speeds Up Premium Processing of Visas and Green Cards

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to expand the premium processing of specific visa categories and EB-1 and EB-2 green card applications. The visa categories include student visas as a priority. The process expansion aims to reduce the burden on the overall legal immigration system.

For more information on US immigration, get in touch today!

Topics: USA




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