Mumbai Consular Chief John Ballard has stated that they intend to process a “record” number of visas for Indians this year, even though wait times for American visas remain frustratingly long and travel visas take well over a year.
The issue of wait times for Indians applying for work visas, which range from 60 to 280 days, has been brought up numerous times by the country’s external affairs ministry.
Over 1,25,000 student visas were issued by American embassies and consulates in India last year. A record number for Indians and similar numbers are expected this year, if not more
According to Ballard, who spoke with PTI, “Last year, we adjudicated over 8,00,000 total visa adjudications and we are almost up to our pre-pandemic levels, which we expect to surpass in 2023.”
The embassy wants to get rid of the backlogs for first-time B1 and B2 tourist and business travel visas.
American embassies plan to process a record number of visas
The Mumbai consular chief stated, “We recently opened up 2.5 lakhs of B1/B2 visa appointments throughout India. And we have dozens of officers, specifically to help us conduct interviews for first-time B1/B2 applicants, who have come from embassies around the world and Washington DC.”
In addition, applicants can now submit applications for visa renewals via email. Additionally, the embassy has arranged for embassies all over the world to handle these cases. Allowing them to concentrate on interviewing first-time applicants.
According to Ballard, “adjudications are just part of the many initiatives that we are currently undertaking. To help reduce the backlog for visa wait times“.
This year, the Mumbai Consular Chief expects new measures – including more staff and added working days. To aid the embassy in issuing even more visas.
“We will also be fully staffed by the end of the summer, and every post within the mission. All of our consulates will be open on Saturdays in February and March. As a result, we intend to pursue even more initiatives in the future to reduce the wait time backlog. With these initiatives, we anticipate processing a record number of visas this year,” Ballard stated.
In addition, Ballard stressed the fact that issuances and refusals for any visa category. Depend on the individual applicant and the category of visa they are applying for.
He went on to say, “B1/B2 visa applicants must be able to demonstrate the purpose of their travel to the United States. And their ties to India that would ensure their return.”