Some relief: US mission in India releases over 1 lakh work-based H&L visa appointments

NEW DELHI: US Embassy in India have issued over a thousand appointments for H&L visa category based on their employment and family members.
This is one of the main assurances that the US mission here recently made after the secretary of state S Jaishankar raised the issue of visa delay with the US secretary of state Antony Blinken end of last month.

Wait times for first-time applicants for B1 (business) and B2 (guest) continue to remain high at 884 days in Delhi and 872 in Mumbai on Friday – inching closer to 2.5 years now!
“In response to the high demand for employment-based visas, US Delegation to India recently released over 100,000 appointments for H&L employees and their families. Thousands of applicants have booked appointments and waiting times for both interview waivers and first-time appointments have been cut in half across Mission India. This mass appointment opening reflects our continued commitment to H&L workers,” the US Embassy in India tweeted on Friday, adding, “In fact, for the first nine months of the year.” By 2022, (we) have processed over 160,000 H&L visas and we will continue to prioritize H&L employees for visa appointments as resources permit. ”

The L-1 and H-1B visas are among the most popular nonimmigrant work visas in the United States. While the L-1 is more suitable for people working for MNCs, the H-1B is more suitable for those who plan to work for US companies and have more flexibility in their work.
However, waiting times for B1/B2 visas continue to increase gradually. Now it’s been almost 2.5 years in Delhi and Mumbai. Regarding this long wait, the US Embassy in Delhi, ministerial adviser on consular affairs Don Heflin said last month: “We will be working to reduce that over the next few months as well as (by opening) a lot of appointments soon. There is still time to wait but we will continue to recover and have more and more staff. And we’re going to get to a point where we start cutting down on waiting times. ”

While visa applications have rebounded to pre-crypto levels, foreign missions have yet to ramp up staffing to 2019 levels and can handle the same. As a result, some countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Schengen countries face long waiting times.
Heflin said last month: “…we’ll hit 100% staff a little before this time next year…. at that time (we will) be able to handle about 100% of the volume (applications) we received before Covid. I (will) actually do a little better than that because we made some changes…. Washington is sending us out temporarily (staff). We will also accept temporary (staff) from other major embassies. So we’re going to get to some point between now and next summer where we can sort of deal with more cases,” Heflin speak.


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