U.S. visa processing posts in India processed more visas than ever before in 2023, including a record number of international students, officials recently announced.

Key Points:

  • The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India processed a record-breaking 1.4 million U.S. visas in 2023 and saw a 60% increase in applications from the previous year.
  • Staff additions, process innovations and increased efficiencies reduced visitor visa (B1/B2) wait times from 1,000 to 250 days — a 75% improvement.
  • Indian students have become the largest group of international graduate students in the United States and make up more than 25% of foreign students studying in the U.S. In 2023, 140,000 student visas were issued, outnumbering any other country and setting a record for a third year in a row. Over 380,000 employment visas were processed in 2023 for Indian nationals and their family members.

Additional Information: In a statement, the embassy said streamlined processing of employment visas remains a top priority for the U.S. consular team. Efforts to provide more efficient and convenient services have included the opening of a new $340 million facility in Hyderabad in March 2023. In addition, the State Department recently launched a domestic visa renewal pilot program, which allows eligible H-1B holders to renew their visas in the U.S.

BAL Analysis: The increase in visa processing in India was part of a larger trend; the State Department processed a near-record level of visas in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2023. The U.S. Mission in India set a goal of processing 1 million nonimmigrant visas in 2023, a target that was reached in September. While visa services at some embassies and consulates remain delayed, the U.S. Mission in India said it would continue to “invest in the future of consular services in India and explore ways to provide more efficient and convenient services.”

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This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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