Visitor Visa Appointment Wait Times Soar to 999 Days

The wait times for visitor visa appointments have continued to increase over the past few months, reaching almost 1,000 days for most U.S. Embassies in India. This means that if you are planning to travel to the United States, you may have to wait more than 2 and a half years to have your in-person interview, and then wait additional processing time after your interview is completed. This excessive appointment wait time is not only hurting loved ones who are eager to see family members and friends in the United States, but is also negatively affecting the U.S. tourism industry.

While the U.S. Embassies or Consulates in India say to check back weekly for more accurate wait times, it appears that the wait times have only continued to increase at all major Embassies/Consulates. Even with the announcement of new appointment slots opening up just this month, it doesn’t appear that it has helped with the wait times in the slightest. 

Visitor Visa Appointment Wait Times Soar to 999 Days

Plan Ahead for U.S. Travel

If you are hoping to travel to the United States, start your planning now. Schedule the first available visa interview appointment that you can find for the time being. We recommend checking back every day to see if a sooner appointment opens up, and grab the sooner appointment. You can always move up your appointment, but it is best to have an appointment scheduled as soon as possible just in case you aren’t able to book a closer one.

Interview Waiver Program

Another option to bypass the lengthy visa appointment wait times is to see if you qualify for the Interview Waiver Program. This program allows you to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without having to obtain a visa. 

Wait times for an interview waiver are much shorter. There are certain qualifications that you must meet, including having a valid passport and authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a flight or boat headed for the United States. For more information regarding the Interview Waiver Program, visit the travel.state.gov website.

Recent FAQs Answered by the U.S. Embassy in India (via Facebook)

Q: When will refused F1 visa slots open?

A: There will be a small window of appointments in the first week of January that will be released very soon. 

Q: I am unable to find any open slots for L2 visas. I get a message saying “No Appointments”. Will more L2 slots be available soon so I can be with family?

A: Due to high demand, H and L appointments are full for the next several months. However, more H and L appointments will be opening as conditions allow. More H and L visa appointments will be opening up soon within the next coming weeks.

Q: When will more appointments for B1/B2 visas open up?

A: Check the website daily for appointment availability for B1/B2 visas. When appointments are open, they are done so in large batches, and these batches take a day or so to fill. Checking back regularly will ensure that you’ll catch a large batch of openings. 

Q: A number of Immigrant Visa applicants have complained that their documentarily qualified cases have been skipped, and cases that were documentarily qualified at a later day were processed before theirs.

A: Yes, we have confirmed that a very small number of cases were indeed skipped. Those beneficiaries were contacted directly with instructions on scheduling their cases. 

Q: Is it possible to speed up H1B visa stamping for people who have received 221G? The applications have been in admin processing for quite a long time and a lot of people end up losing their jobs.

A: We know many cases are undergoing long administrative processing. We can’t expedite the process but please be assured we’re aware of the issue and doing what we can to facilitate faster processing for those in this situation.

Q: What about the worldwide backlog? Can you please estemate when it will be finished for the F2a category?

A: As you may be aware, we are facing a long queue of applicants across all immigrant visa categories. We will continue to contact those whose appointments were cancelled in April-May 2021 and Spring 2020, in chronological order, by visa category, with instructions to continue processing their cases. We are also resuming 221(g) submission and the reissuance of expired visas in all categories, and the scheduling of routine cases through the National Visa Center, by visa category, as public health conditions allow. We cannot predict when you might be contacted for an appointment. We will post updates on our operational status at our website: www.ustraveldocs.com/in/en

To see the most recent visa appointment wait times at your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, visit the travel.state.gov website.

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