According to the latest data on the US Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs website, there is an over 800 days appointment wait time for non-immigrant visitor visa applicants to the United States in India.To tackle the wait time Heflin said that the embassy is going to get to 100 percent staffing, and also hire temporary consultants.
On Thursday, the US embassy in India stated that interviews for student visas would begin in the middle of November and last through the end of December. The announcement was made while discussing the visa wait times and visa processing in consular sections across India during a live chat on Facebook and Instagram live chat, Don Heflin, Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs, US Embassy.
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He further mentioned that the interviews will happen in two phases; the first phase will start in mid-October while the second phase will begin in mid-November. He also said that 1 lakh appointments would be opened for the H .and L worker visa categories in the "next few weeks".
“Will reach our full potential by this time next year"
Addressing the issue of long wait times Heflin said that the Embassy has been understaffed due to the pandemic which has been the reason behind longer wait times.
“Good news is our recovery from Covid and post-Covid staffing problem is well underway. At the height of Covid, and for a while after we only had about 50 percent of the (visa staffing) we should have. Now we are at 70 percent. We're going to be at about 100 percent staffing a little bit before next time this year and wait times will decrease soon,” said Heflin.
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According to the latest data on the US Department of State- Bureau of Consular Affairs website, there is an over 800 days appointment wait time for non-immigrant visitor visa applicants to the United States in India.
To tackle the wait time Heflin said that the embassy is going to get to 100 percent staffing, and also hire temporary consultants.
In early September the embassy officials said that the US Mission in India has issued a record-breaking 82,000 student visas in 2022 to date. Authorities further noted that Indian students have received more US student visas than students from any other nation.
‘The situation is the same everywhere"
While the waiting time for Indians to get a visa is over 800 days, data from a website showed that the wait time is only two days for Beijing.
“You have to compare India’s waiting time to big embassies like Mexico City or Columbia and they are about this long too and it’s a worldwide problem,” said Heflin.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the US yesterday, brought up the backlog in visa applications with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The senior US ambassador declared that he is "very sensitive" to the problem and that there are parallel challenges around the world brought on by Covid.