Waiting time for US visa appointments decreased by 75%
In 2023, the United States experienced a record number of visa applications processed in India. This was achieved by implementing measures such as expanding staff, introducing innovative methods, and enhancing overall efficiency, resulting in a significant reduction of 75% in the wait time for visiting visa appointments.
The number of applications for visiting or B1 and B2 visas has exceeded 700,000, making them the second most applied for visas in the US. The US missions fulfilled this requirement by implementing a temporary increase in staff levels for a duration of three months in Mumbai in early 2023, as well as by increasing the number of permanent staff members and employing cutting-edge technological solutions.
The implementation of process enhancements and increased allocation of resources resulted in a significant reduction in the average waiting period for visitor visas across India, decreasing from 1,000 days to 250 days. The statement indicated that there are negligible wait times in all other categories.
According to the statement, the US missions in India granted over 140,000 student visas in 2023, surpassing all other countries and establishing a record for the third consecutive year.
Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai are now the four leading student visa processing locations globally when considered separately. The statement highlighted that due to the significant increase in numbers, Indian students now constitute the biggest group of international graduate students in the United States, accounting for almost a quarter of the total population of foreign students, which exceeds one million.
The announcement indicated that in 2024, a pilot program will be implemented to enable eligible H1B visa holders to extend their visas within the United States. This initiative aims to enhance the efficiency of the visa renewal procedure for this specific group.
The United States will persist in allocating resources towards the development of consular services in India and actively seek out methods to enhance the efficiency and convenience of these services. These investments encompassed the establishment of a state-of-the-art building worth $340 million in Hyderabad in March of the previous year, the declaration of two additional consulates in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, ongoing enhancements to several facilities around India, and the permanent deployment of additional consular officials to the country.