New Delhi,UPDATED: Nov 23, 2022 2:52 PM IST
By India Today Web Desk: Are you planning to visit the United States for business or leisure? Think again, because you might have to wait a bit. The waiting time for visa applicants in India is nearly 1,000 days, or three years.
A search on the US Department of State website shows that the waiting period for B1 (business) and B2 (tourist) visa applicants requiring an interview is 999 days in Mumbai (as of November 23).
For those living in Delhi, the waiting time is 961 days while for Hyderabad it is 994 days. People in Chennai will have to wait 948 days to get an appointment, while in Kerala, the waiting period is 904 days.
Astronomical waiting times mean that a first-time B1/B2 candidate can now get an interview date in 2025.
Earlier this month, a senior US Embassy official said the the waiting period for B1/B2 visas is reduced by approximately nine months. However, due to the high volume of applications and the existing backlog, it may take months for the wait time to decrease.
“As of November 2022, the worldwide median wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) interview appointment is approximately two months, and applicants with urgent travel needs that meet certain criteria may require an emergency appointment, usually available within days,” the State Department had said in a press release.
A number of measures are being taken to speed up the processing of applications, ranging from hiring more staff to increasing the “drop box” or interview waiver facilities, the official told PTI.
The official further said that the United States has already identified H (H1B) and L category visas for Indians as its priority and nearly 1,00,000 slots have been released recently for those wishing to renew visas.
The waiting time for some categories has already been reduced to around nine months from 450 days previously. The plan is to issue around a lakh of visas every month, the official said.