Here are the wait times for US visas in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be a while
In September, when the US Embassy resumed in-person B1/B2 (tourist) visa appointments, slots were quickly booked out until April 2023. Most applicants who wanted to plan a trip to the US would have to wait months for an appointment. Unfortunately, wait times haven’t gotten any better since. If you are a first-time visitor visa applicant, depending on which Indian city you are applying from, you may have to wait for almost three years for your US visa appointment.
US embassy officials are taking steps to reduce the wait time for Indian applicants. More applicants are being made eligible for an interview waiver, temporary staff is being hired for faster movement and dropbox cases are being sent abroad for quicker processing. However, the backlog from Covid, along with the fierce resurgence of travel means several travellers are going to have to keep their US plans on hold. Here’s how long you will have to wait for a US visa appointment in your city, as per the official website.
US visa wait time in India
Mumbai: 999 days
Delhi: 961 days
Hyderabad: 994 days
Chennai: 948 days
Kolkata: 904 days
So, should you apply for a US visa right now?
The US embassy is working to prioritise visa applications from India, given the high demand. Staffing is likely to get better by summer 2023 and wait times may become far shorter by then. Students will get priority during admission season, followed by repeat B1 or B2 applicants whose visas expired within four years of application. While first-time B1/B2 applicants will have to wait a few months to see a reduction in wait times, embassy officials recommend applying nonetheless. “Once the line starts moving and wait time drops, they can advance their interview date without any fees,” a senior official said last week.