An official of the US embassy said on Thursday that the waiting period for the issuance of American visas is expected to decrease significantly by the summer of 2023. The number of visa applications is expected to reach around 1.2 million by that time.
The issuance of visas to India is Washington’s top priority. “Our objective is to restore the situation to pre-Covid-19 levels by the middle of next year,” the official said.
As a result of the lifting of the Coronavirus travel restrictions, India has seen a significant increase in the number of applications for US visas.
Due to the long wait time for the issuance of visas, the US is also initiating several initiatives, including hiring additional personnel and enhancing the “dropbox” facilities, according to the official.
Each month, approximately one lakh visas are expected to be issued.
The US has already identified H (H1B) and L-category visas for Indians as a priority. Nearly a million slots have been released recently for those seeking to renew their visas.
There has already been a reduction in the waiting time for certain categories from 450 days to around nine months.
In addition, the wait time for B1 and B2 (business and tourism) visas has been reduced from approximately nine months.
As for the number of visas issued by the United States, the official stated that India is expected to move from third to second place by the end of the year.
India is currently behind Mexico and China.
It is anticipated that the US will initially focus on applicants using the “dropbox” facility.
An official stated that priority is being given to reducing student visa waiting time, especially for those seeking renewals.
Using the drop box facility, renewing a US visa without appearing for an interview is possible.
Generally, applicants with a US visa within the last four years are eligible for dropbox services.
Over the past year, the United States has issued approximately 82,000 visas.
In recent months, New Delhi has raised the issue of long waiting periods for US visas with Washington.
“We expect to receive 1.1 to 1.2 million Indian visa applications by next summer,” said the official.