The demand for visa processing for India nationals for travel to the U.S. from India is seeing a surge, both for personal and business purposes. The U.S. consular offices have continued to issue visas throughout the pandemic, except for extensive restrictions during periods of time in 2020 and 2021, during COVID pandemic peaks. Clearly, demand has far outweighed the capacity for visa issuance.
U.S. Consulates and Embassies have not had a change in operation. All facilities continue with limited appointments and availability. It is estimated that regular operations will return in mid-2023, barring any further developments in COVID or other unknown issues.
B-1 and B-2 Visa Renewals
B-1 and B-2 visas for temporary, non-immigrant travelers are experiencing high demand. These visas are granted to individuals for business or tourism travel to the U.S. Individuals with B visas qualifying for renewal have been able to complete that process if their visas were either valid or had expired in the previous 48-month period. However, to renew, a “dropbox” appointment is required. Dropbox appointments can be scheduled at any of the five consular offices. Individuals must drop off their applications with all required documents, at the visa facilitation services offices. In addition, individuals can use any of the locations listed on the USTravel Docs website.
B-1 and B-2 First Time Applications
Individuals who have not held a B visa, have had previous filings refused, or are in search of a waiver have few options. Although appointments have been available months in advance, as the date approached the appointment has been canceled. The appointments are considered “placeholder” appointments. Given to individuals with expedited requirements requested, they canceled if the individual did not qualify for the appointment.
Visa Appointment Availability
However, appointments are opening at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India, across all visa categories. The anticipated availability date is around September 2022 and onward with scheduling availability around June 2022 and forward. These appointments will not be considered “placeholder” appointments.
Emergency appointments are available solely if the applicant has an unavoidable or dire need to travel to the U.S. immediately. Evidence is required to qualify for an emergency appointment. Emergencies can be personal, medical, or business-related. Individuals looking for emergency appointments should look for the soonest available appointment date and then go to the US Travel Docs website to request an emergency appointment. Confirming the emergency appointment is at the discretion of the U.S. consular officers.
Immigrant Visa Services
Specific immigrant visa services have now also resumed at U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India. Included are the CR 1,2 and the IR 1,2, and some non-immigrant J category visas. Interview dates are not readily available as the backlog of individuals and new applicants far exceeds availability. It is anticipated that in-person interviews will resume sometime between September 2022 and the early calendar year 2023. EB-5 visa processing has also resumed, further increasing the demand for interviews.
Appointments for fall 2022 applicants to qualifying U.S. educational institutions are planned to open in mid-May. Appointments will begin starting June 1, 2022. Individuals who have not yet applied will take precedent over individuals who have been previously rejected earlier in the year.
Immigrant Visa Stamping
There are no restrictions on Immigrant Visa stamping at U.S. Embassies in India. The Mumbai Consulate is contacting previous cases that are in a pending status to process those in chronological order. With the large backlog, the timing is unknown. Do not contact the consulate. They are actively reaching out to individuals as appointments are available. Check the timeline on the U.S. Embassy website for updates.
If you have questions about your visa processing for India or any immigration-related issue, contact us at ILBSG. Our extensive experience in immigration law ensure you get the right advice.