India is anticipated to surpass China in the number of US visas issued and will rank second behind Mexico. US embassy official stated, "By the summer of next year, we anticipate that India will acquire more US visas than China." A senior official at the US embassy in New Delhi stated, "India is expected to rank second in the issuance of US Visas after Mexico."
The senior official at the US embassy in New Delhi said that slots will be available in the middle of November.
After a gap of two years, the United States of America has finally offered interview slots to new visa applicants. Indians seeking a visitor visa to the United States now have to wait up to 800 days, according to the website of the US State Department. The waiting period for student/exchange visitor and other non-immigrant visas is nearly 400 days.
"For various kinds of visas, we would not have much wait time. Each separate category has some wait time," a senior US Embassy official added.
Taking high demand for employment-based visas into account and considering the people who haven't been able to come home and see their family since the pandemic started, the US Mission to India has released over 1,00,000 appointments for H&L visas for workers and their families.
100,000 H and L worker visa applicants can now apply for a spot in the United States. This has already taken place, reducing wait times.
"India is Washington's top priority right now. Students, high-tech workers, tourists, and businessmen make up a large portion of our population," the official continued.
The US embassy reviews expedited requests for business, education/exchange (F, M, J visas), and medical emergencies, on a case-by-case basis. Students and exchange visitors requesting expedited appointments must provide an I-20 or DS-2019 form showing that they would miss the beginning of their courses/programs if not granted an expedited appointment.
In October, the US embassy in India announced more than one lakh appointments for individuals with H and L work visas and their families.
"The US Mission to India recently released over 100,000 appointments for H&L workers and their families in response to the high demand for employment-based visas," the US embassy in India tweeted.
This was among the key assurances that the US mission has given after Foreign Minister S Jaishankar had raised the visa delay issue with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month.
The US embassy further said in the first nine months of 2022, the US Mission had already processed over 160,000 H and L visas and it will continue to prioritize H and L workers for visa appointments as resources allow.
For certain individual petition-based non-immigrant work visas and their qualifying derivatives, consular officers now have temporary authority to waive in-person interviews until December 31, 2022.
These visas fall into the following categories: A US State Department release added the categories of Specialty Occupants (H-1B), Trainees or Special Education Visitors (H-3), Intracompany Transferees (L), Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O), Athletes, Artists, and Entertainers (P), and Participants in International Cultural Exchange Programs (Q).
Additionally, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has extended the current ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview for the following additional categories of non-immigrant visas until December 31, 2022:Students (F and M visas), Agricultural and Non-Agricultural Temporary Workers (H-2 visas), Student Exchange Visitors (Academic J visas).
"We recognize the many contributions of international visitors to our communities and campuses. Lastly, the authorization to waive the in-person interview for applicants renewing a visa in the same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa's expiration has been extended indefinitely," added to the release.