There have been a shortage of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) appointments at the U.S. consulates in India through the continuous pandemic. This issue has been exacerbated by specific agents who have been reserving visa appointments in bulk and then charging visa candidates for these scarce appointment slots. In response, the U.S. consulates have taken steps to mitigate the negative impact such agents are having on visa appointment availability.
Background on U.S. Visa Applications in India | NIV Appointments
The demand for U.S. visas in India is presently higher than it was prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new spike in the number of U.S. visa candidates in India could be owing to the status of the Indian economy and the pent-up demand.
During a new Facebook Live conversation, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in India, Mr. Don Heflin, raised concerns regarding agents misusing the U.S. visa appointment scheduling system in India. Mr. Heflin demonstrated that numerous agents had been reserving visa appointment dates in bulK. To then sell them to those looking for visa appointment slots. Not only was this unfair to visa applicants, but the appointment slots the agents were unable to sell went unused.
Steps Taken by the U.S. Embassy in India to Prevent Such Misuse
In recent months, the U.S. consulates have introduced a few measures to combat the abuse. Of the scheduling system for nonimmigrant visa candidates. For example, the system currently includes a CAPTCHA test to prevent agents from using bots to grab available visa appointment slots. The U.S. consulates in India have also stopped announcing the particular dates that new appointment slots will be made available. Further, because of client complaints, the U.S. Office in Mumbai has requested that any person with data about U.S. visa fraud or consular fraud of any kind, should report the fraud to the consulate via email.
Visa candidates should log into their particular profiles on the CGI Federal site. On a regular basis monitor the availability of NIV appointments.
These measures introduced by the U.S. Consulate in India should help reduce unfair manipulation of the online visa appointment scheduling system. This should lead to greater availability of visa appointments and shorter wait times for U.S. visas.