US student visa appointments: Student visas have joined the list of visas facing long wait times as the United States struggles to meet the massive increase in demand with limited resources.
Backlogs are beginning to appear for student visas (F visas), along with tourist and business visas. According to the website of the US Department of State, the wait time at the Hyderabad consulate reached 325 calendar days.
Students who intend to submit visa applications at other consulates will not have to wait as long. Kolkata has a wait time of 98 days, while Mumbai, Chennai, and New Delhi have wait times of 104 days each.
A State Department spokesperson stated last week that the United States is making every effort to cut down the waiting time for visa interview appointments in India as soon as possible.
“We expect to reach pre-pandemic processing levels over the coming year,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated to reporters at his daily news conference. “Visa processing is recovering faster than projected.”
Price said in response to a question, “I absolutely understand the frustration of those who have long wait times“. I am able to inform you that reducing the backlog and, ultimately. The wait times are a top priority for the Secretary and the Department. He stated, “We are committed to preserving national security and making it easier for nonimmigrant travelers to travel legally.”
“As well as the administration’s goal of family reunification, we are aware that timely visa processing is crucial to the US economy. “We’re still working to respond to the significant demand for visa services,” he added. “We’ve made great strides in recovering from pandemic-related closures and staffing challenges.”
US student visa appointments
He said that in FY 2022, the US issued more student visas than in any other year since 2016. And that, in particular, its embassy and consulates in India broke their all-time record for the number of student visas issued in a single fiscal year.
“USCIS gave nearly 1,25,000 students visas. “We are making every effort to further reduce visa interview appointment wait times as soon as possible in India and around the world. Including for first-time tourist visa applicants,” Price stated. “We recognize that some applicants may still face extended visa wait times.”
In Mumbai, the wait time for first-time applicants for US business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visas is nearly three years.
The US State Department claims that B1/B2 applicants in Mumbai currently have to wait 999 days for an interview; In Hyderabad, 494 days; 786 days spent in Delhi 440 in Kolkata, and 800 in Chennai.
The United States has made more applicants eligible for interview waivers, sent dropbox cases abroad for adjudication, and hired temporary staff in response to the growing backlog.
The expediting of dropbox cases for skilled workers, and repeat B1/B2 visa applicants (those whose visas expired within four years of application, making them eligible for interview waiver). Also, the crew follows students as the top priority during admissions season. However, the interview wait times for B1/B2 may not begin to decrease for several months.
The US expects the processing times to rebound faster than projected and expects it to reach pre-pandemic levels in Fiscal Year 2023.