US Mission In India Starts Special Saturday Interviews To Reduce Visitor Visa Wait Times

New Delhi: As part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants, the United States Mission in India launched the first in a series of special Saturday interview days.

The US Embassy in the national Capital and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad all opened consular operations on Saturday to accommodate applicants who require in-person visa interviews.

The Mission will continue to open additional slots for appointments to take place on select Saturdays, a press release stated.

Additional interview days apart, the Mission has taken several other initiatives to address the COVID-caused backlog in visa processing as follows:

* The US Department of State has implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous American visas.

* Between January and March 2023, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase processing capacity.

* The Department of State is also increasing number of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates.

* The US Mission in India released more than 250,000 additional B1/B2 appointments.

* Consulate General Mumbai also extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments.

The US Mission in India will be at full staffing by this summer, with visa processing expected to return to pre-COVID levels.

“Our consular teams across India are putting in the extra hours to meet the needs of international travelers and bring down wait times. This is part of a Mission wide effort to find innovative solutions to facilitate travel to the United States,” said Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard.

The Consulate General Mumbai adjudicates the most visa applications in India and is one of the largest visa operations in the world.

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