What is the change?  Wait times for visa appointments at U.S. consulates in India have improved significantly, as the peak application season has come to an end. Wait times for appointments for nonimmigrant visas, including B-1/B-2, H-1B and L-1 visas, currently range from two to 15 calendar days, depending on the consulate.

What does the change mean? Visa applicants may want to take advantage of the improved wait times and book appointments now. Applicants who have an appointment date may be able to reschedule to an earlier date, depending on their particular circumstance and location.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: S. nonimmigrant visas.
  • Who is affected: Applicants seeking an interview appointment for a nonimmigrant visa stamp at a U.S. consulate in India.
  • Impact on processing times: Appointments wait times have dropped to between two and eight days for business visas and between two and 15 days for all other nonimmigrant visas. This is a significant improvement from the summer when, on June 30, wait times for business visas ranged from between 18 and 31 days and, for other nonimmigrant visas, between 36 and 114 days.
  • Next steps: Applicants may be able to reschedule appointments for an earlier date, but should note that appointments can only be rescheduled a limited number of times before applicants will be assessed another visa application fee.

Background: Wait times remain in flux and are subject to change, but have improved significantly in recent weeks. The charts below highlight current wait times at U.S. consulates in India for nonimmigrant visas (excluding F student or J exchange-visitor visas) compared to the wait times on June 30, when a backlog had developed.

Oct. 24:

U.S. Consulate Business Visas Other Nonimmigrant Visas
Chennai 7 days 7 days
Hyderabad 3 days 15 days
Kolkata 2 day 2 days
Mumbai 8 days 8 days
New Delhi 4 days 4 days

June 30:

U.S. Consulate Business Visas Other Nonimmigrant Visas
Chennai 28 days 85 days
Hyderabad 23 days 114 days
Kolkata 31 days 70 days
Mumbai 25 days 65 days
New Delhi 18 days 36 days

The improvement is due at least in part to normal seasonal fluctuations, though the State Department also said it provided added temporary staff at the end of the peak summer season to help work through a backlog. Current wait times are available on this website.

BAL Analysis: The improved wait times are welcome news for visa applicants, and those in need of a visa may wish to apply now before wait times go up again. Those with an existing appointment date may wish to inquire at the particular India consular post where they are applying about moving up their appointment date.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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