The U.S. State Department recently provided an update on worldwide visa operations, including information on wait times, backlogs and interview availability.

Key Points:

  • The State Department plans to reach pre-pandemic visa processing levels by the end of 2022. The department said it has doubled its Foreign Service personnel and reduced visa interview wait times worldwide.
  • Currently, 96% of U.S. embassies and consulates are interviewing visa applicants, and the department is processing nonimmigrant visa applications at 94% and immigrant visa applications at 130% of pre-pandemic monthly averages.
  • The State Department has processed eight million nonimmigrant visas in the past year, exceeding its best-case-scenario projections.
  • Applicants renewing nonimmigrant visas in the same classification within 48 months of their prior visa’s expiration are eligible to apply without an in-person interview in their country of nationality or residence, the State Department said.
  • Individuals can check this webpage for the latest information on visa processing and interview wait times.

Additional Information: Delays plagued U.S. embassies and consulates around the world last year as they emerged from COVID-related closures. State Department officials said that visa processing times are improving but progress varies from post to post. Applicants can in some cases travel to other consulates to apply for visa services; however, depending on the specific situation, this may not be a feasible option.

BAL Analysis: While processing times are improving, appointment and processing delays should be expected at U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world. Service levels vary from post to post. BAL will continue to monitor efforts to address processing delays and will provide more information as it becomes available. Employers and employees should continue to consult their BAL professional before planning international travel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group. For additional information, please contact

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