To reduce the delay in the process of acquiring US visas in India, the US Embassy has introduced supplemental measures in its current initiative, such as increasing the strength of consular employees and organizing special appointments for first-time applicants.
Indians can now skip the long, tiring waiting periods for their US visas.
Waiting Period Cut Short
The US Embassy launched a recent initiative to help Indians skip the long waiting process after applying for their US visas. On Sunday, January 5, 2023, the US Embassy announced that Indians who are traveling out of the country can now undergo a visa appointment at the Embassy or the Consulate of where they are headed.
This was advised by the US Embassy when they figured out that the overall time required for the processing of a US visa remains above 500 days in most parts of India, in spite of all attempts at lessening the visa backlog.
The US has introduced certain measures to cut the prolonged waiting period for US visas, such as expanding the number of consular employees and arranging special interviews for those who are applying for the first time. In addition to the above-mentioned steps, the US Embassy in Delhi and its consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Kolkata also carried out “special Saturday interview days” on January 21, 2023.
The US State Department has also taken the initiative to remotely process interview waiver cases for applicants who have previously owned US visas. Reports suggest that two weeks ago, the US mission in India managed to schedule over 2,50,000 B1/B2 appointments for applicants.
Thailand As An Example
The US Embassy, referring to Thailand as an example, declared that Indians are capable of applying for B1 and B2 visas, which are for business and travel purposes, respectively.
The US Embassy in India shared a post on Twitter that read, “Do you have upcoming international travel? If so, you may be able to get a visa appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your destination. For example, @USEmbassyBKK has opened B1/B2 appointment capacity for Indians who will be in Thailand in the coming months.”
The lengthy procedure of applying for a US visa is a matter of concern in India, particularly for first-time applicants who are registering under the B1 and B2 categories. In October 2022, the waiting period for first-time applicants under the B1 and B2 visa categories was almost 3 years.
Also Read: Watch: Indians Can Travel To All These Countries Without A Visa
Grace Meng’s Opinion
Grace Meng, a member of the Congressional Caucus on India as well as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, praised the initiative undertaken by the US Embassy to avoid the long waiting process after applying for US visas in India.
In an interview, Ms. Grace said, “I’m glad to see that steps are being taken to reduce wait times for visa applicants.” She added, “This move will significantly help businesses and families who are waiting for the arrival of workers and loved ones from India. It is unacceptable that the wait time for visas has been so long, and in Congress, I have pushed for these delays to be addressed.”
In addition to this, Mend also claimed, “The US and India continue to share a special bond, and this initiative to reduce backlogs will further strengthen the strong relationship that exists between our two great countries.”
With the travel restrictions being lifted that were enforced in the first place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, India became one of the countries where US visa applications increased on a large scale. To put up with the rapid rise, the initiative to cut the US visa backlog in India is a major help.
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Sources: NDTV, Business Today & The Economic Times
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