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Travel Advisory: Nonimmigrant Visa Wait Times at U.S. Consular Posts in India

17:19 03 October in News Updates
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Travel Advisory

Nonimmigrant Visa Wait Times

U.S. Consular Posts in India

Significant Delays

U.S. Consular Posts in India continue to experience extraordinary wait times for nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interview appointments. At the time of this writing, the current wait times to obtain an appointment for all NIV categories other than B, F, and J are:

  •      Chennai                               120 calendar days
  •      Hyderabad                           130 calendar days
  •      Kolkata                                1 calendar day (pending verification)
  •      Mumbai                               130 calendar days
  •      New Delhi                            126 calendar days

Once the interview has taken place, all posts in India are reporting a wait time of 1 to 2 business days to return the passport with the visa stamp, assuming there are no delays due to administrative processing (additional security checks).   If a case is selected for administrative processing, the delay may be 2 to 6 weeks or more.

  • Note that Mission India requires applicants for a petition-based visa (such as H-1B or L-1) to have already obtained USCIS approval of the underlying petition before requesting an interview.  That is, the filing of the petition and receipt notice are not sufficient to schedule an appointment.

Reason for the Delays

The U.S. Department of State reports that demand for visas to travel to the United States has increased by 80% in the past five years and that Mission India adjudicated more than one million visa applications during the last fiscal year alone.   The Department of State is seeking approval from the Government of India to add consular positions to alleviate the increase in visa wait times.

Alternatives

   Apply outside of India:

–       Although the consular post in one’s home country is considered the post with primary jurisdiction, individuals do have the option to apply at most any U.S. consular post worldwide.

–       The consular post in Vancouver, Canada is currently reporting a wait of 5 days, and the post in Tijuana, Mexico is reporting a wait of 1 day.  However, these posts may have separate queues for third country nationals (that is, non-Canadian or non-Mexican residents, respectively), resulting in longer waits for an appointment than those listed on the website.

–       An entry visa to the country in which the U.S. consular post is located may be required for Indian nationals residing in the U.S.

–       Consular posts in Mexico restrict which third country nationals may apply in Mexico:  https://mx.usembassy.gov/visas/third-country-nationals/ .

Current wait times for U.S. consular posts worldwide:  https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html

Interview Waiver Drop Box option for certain renewals:   Some individuals may qualify for a waiver of the interview for a visa renewal.  Eligibility criteria:  http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp

Expedited Appointments:         The Mission India visa appointment system provides a mechanism for requesting an expedited appointment. First priority goes to cases involving humanitarian issues (e.g., travel to receive an organ donation, to care for a seriously ill relative in the U.S., etc.).  Business emergencies take second priority. In making a business expedite request, it is important to articulate why the need to travel is urgent, why advance planning was not possible, the impact if travel does not occur, etc.  However, it is important to note that Mission India has advised:  “Due to our personnel constraints, Mission India consular sections are currently only approving expedite visa appointments for cases involving genuine emergencies, as outlined here http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-expeditedappointment.asp .”

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