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US’ Big Move to Reduce Waiting Period for First-Time Visa Applicants

WASHINGTON: Aiming to cut down the waiting period for visa processing in India, the US has rolled out new initiatives like special interviews for first-time applicants and hiked workforce across the country.

Under this initiative, the US embassy in Delhi and its consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad conducted special interviews on Saturday, January 21, to accommodate applicants requiring in-person visa interviews. Weekday operations in US Consulate General Mumbai were also increased.

As per a statement accessed by media on Sunday, the US embassy said – “On January 21, the US Mission in India launched the first in a series of special Saturday interview days, as part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants. The United States embassy in New Delhi and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad opened consular operations on Saturday to accommodate applicants [requiring] in-person visa interviews.”

US Mission in India will organize “additional slots’ for appointments to take place on select Saturdays in the coming months, The US State Department in another attempt to save time has implemented remote processing of interview waiver cases for applicants with previous US visas.

Under the mission, the State Department has increased the number of consular officers permanently assigned to the Embassy and Consulates. So far the consular officers have released over 2.5 lakhs additionalB1 (bussiness0 and B2 (tourism) appointments.

“By this summer, the US mission in India will be at full staffing, and we expect to be processing visas at levels from prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the embassy said.

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