US Visa Wait Times in India: The Earliest Appointment for B1/B2 visa is Expected by March 2024

“I have not visited my parents for two years. I shelved travel plans because of pocket-burning airline tickets to India after the resumption of regular international flights early this year. I was blessed with a baby recently. I wish either my parents or the in-laws to be with us at the current phase of our parenthood. But no luck with B2 visa appointment dates for them. I desperately keep logged in on the US Embassy India website hoping to get a slot available; however, we are in shock that the earliest appointment is expected by March-April 2024,” Aparna Kaushik from Chicago said to Sourav Agarwal, the Editor of Travel Beats.

US visitor visa wait times India, B1/B2 appointment dates India, US visa appointment delays India

Picture Credit: US Embassy

International travel restrictions have been lifted. Country-specific entry regulations have abated. Airlines have restored their service frequency to the pre-pandemic times. But visa appointment delays continue to be a nightmare for Indians seeking interview slots for the US visitor visa, B1/B2. Particularly, the first-time applicants are at the mercy of the US Embassy and Consulates grappling with the mounting backlog of applications and the staffing shortage in India. If sources are to be believed, the backlog has exceeded 4 lakh Indian applicants awaiting interview slots for B2 and other US visas.

“Early this month we posted on our Twitter page that the US Embassy India would resume in-person tourist visa appointments from September. Surprisingly, in only two weeks, the slots got booked until April 2023. Now more than 500 days is the average wait time for the US visitor visa appointment dates in India, according to the US State Department website,” said the chief customer relations officer of Indian Eagle, a leading air-ticketing partner of Indians in America.

It means that if you apply for a US visitor visa now, your chances for getting an appointment before 2024 are minimal to none. This is nothing short of a nightmare for the first-time applicants who are required to appear for an in-person interview and biometrics. However, the wait time is relatively shorter for B2 visa renewals and those planning a business trip to the United States.

“Though the US visa wait times vary from consulate to consulate in India, this is the worst that I have ever seen since the September attacks 2001,” said David Bier, the associate director of immigration policy at Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington DC.

US visa appointment dates India, US visa delays Indians

Picture Credit: Travel.State.Gov

The US Embassy in New Delhi has B2/B1 visa appointment dates 582 calendar days away and students visa slots some 470 days away. The US Consulate in Mumbai expects 580 calendar days to be the estimated waiting time for a US visitor visa appointment. 520 calendar days is the likely wait time for the same at the US Consulate in Hyderabad, whereas a US student visa appointment is 477 days away. In Kolkata, the US Consulate has the wait time spanning 585 calendar days from now for B1/B2 interview slots. The average wait time is 510 calendar days for B1/B2 visa appointment dates at the US Consulate, Chennai, according to the US Department of State website.

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