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You might want to head to Chennai if you need a US student visa quickly

You might want to head to Chennai if you need a US student visa quickly

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By Kanishka Sarkar  Oct 4, 2022 2:09:43 PM IST (Updated)

While there is an over 800 days appointment wait time for non-immigrant visitor visa applicants to the United States in India, students are likely to get their visas much sooner from Chennai, according to the latest data on the US Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

While there is an over 800 days appointment wait time for non-immigrant visitor visa applicants to the United States in India, students are likely to get their visas much sooner from Chennai, according to the latest data on the US Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

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The estimated wait time for student and exchange visitor interview appointments at the US Embassy or Consulate in Chennai is only 29 days, as per data on travel.state.gov on Wednesday. In other cities, the waiting period is more than 400 days.
Meanwhile, the wait time for visitors’ US visas is the lowest in Hyderabad but is still more than 580 days. In Kolkata and Chennai, it’s more than 700 days, while at the consulates in Delhi and Mumbai, the waiting period is more than 800 days. This means those planning to travel to the US may have to wait till October 2024 or more to obtain a visiting visa.
Estimated wait time for nonimmigrant visa interview appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate
Nonimmigrant Visa TypeVisitor VisaStudent/Exchange Visitor VisasAll Other Nonimmigrant Visas
Mumbai848 days430 days392 days
Delhi833 days430 days390 days
Chennai780 days29 days415 days
Hyderabad582 days430 days219 days
Kolkata767 days444 days360 days
Source: travel.state.gov data as of Sept 28, 2022
Due to the long waiting periods, many students who applied for the September intake in foreign universities have been deferred to the January intake, educational consultant Yocket’s co-founder Sumeet Jain told CNBCTV18.com.
“Students who have luckily got the visa approval are facing a lot of issues with accommodation due to the rise in the number of applicants, and high accommodation costs due to inflation,” he said.
Shivendra Singh, VP and Head-Global Trade Development, NASSCOM, earlier said that work at US firms, especially IT companies, is getting hampered due to the delay in Indians getting B-1 and B-2 visas.
“There is a tremendous delay, including DropBox facilities, which were supposed to speed up things, but even there, the appointment window is short. Companies are not able to get people on time due to which projects tend to suffer,” he told CNBC-TV18.
He explained that the challenge is that there is an interview process, and the moment that is required, there is a delay. The second is the limited appointment window, as a result of which individuals are unable to get the appointment and hence, the tremendous delays.
Indians make up a large proportion of the recipients of H-1B and other work visas granted to skilled foreign workers, many in the tech industry. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Indians with H-1B visas already working in America cannot return home for personal reasons as they are not getting timely appointments to get their visa stamped at the US Consulate in India to return to the US.
This means if a person leaves the US to make a trip to India, the person runs the risk of losing their job if they cannot make it back in time to the US within a certain period.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in his meeting with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, raised the issue of the backlog of visa applications from India, to which the top American diplomat said he was sensitive to the matter and had a plan to address it.
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