Home/ News / World/  US visitor visa wait time in India reduced by 60% in 2023, confirms official

The waiting time for a US visitor's visa interview in India has been reduced by 60 per cent this year, a senior official said. Julie Stufft, the deputy assistant secretary of state for visa services, stated that the target is of issuing over one million US visas in the current year, which would surpass the pre-pandemic figure, as reported by PTI.

"We have increased the number of officers going to India. We have set up arrangements, which is unprecedented, with other embassies in the world like Bangkok to take Indians who are seeking visas. We are opening a new consulate in Hyderabad... and we're just focused on making sure that we can bring the wait time down in India," she said.

This improvement has been attributed to several measures taken by the United States, such as increasing the number of officials and opening additional diplomatic missions to handle the processing of visa applications.

Stufft noted that Frankfurt, London and Abu Dhabi have taken a lot of Indian citizens who are seeking visas.

"We have asked these missions to take Indians as if they were from their own host country. Especially in places like Bangkok where there is no visa required for Indians and it is a relatively short flight.

It has been reported that over 100 US diplomatic missions are currently providing visa services to Indian nationals.

"As a result of all of these efforts, the visitor visa interview wait time has decreased by 60 per cent just in the last couple of months. This is a result of all the work that we've put into making sure that Indians who wish to travel to the US can do so."

Stufft said that currently, "visa production in India is 40 per cent higher than it was before the pandemic" and asserted that the State Department was working hard to bring down the wait time.

February recorded the highest on-record production of visas in India.

"Our team there is working very hard and they're well on their way to accomplishing the 1 million visa goal," Stufft said.

Stufft further noted that the State Department is planning to launch a pilot project for the domestic renewal of visas in the near future.

This project would allow holders of certain work visa categories who are residing in the United States to apply for visa renewal without having to leave the country.

"That's very exciting for all of us. It will take time. We're building up that operation from zero. That's something that we have not done for several decades at this point. This will have big benefits for Indians who are living and working in America," she added.

(With PTI inputs)

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Updated: 29 Mar 2023, 10:05 AM IST
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