-, Jan 30, 2024, India Blooms News Service
New Delhi/IBNS Amid the unprecedented increase in visa applicants, the American Embassy and consulates in India processed a record 1.4 million US visas in 2023.
With this, Indians now represent one out of every 10 US visa applicants worldwide.
The US Consular Team in India processed more visas than ever before in 2023, bringing down visitor visa appointment wait times by 75%, an official release from the US Embassy said on Monday.
As per the official release, the US Embassy and Consulates met the rise in demand for processing visa applications by beefing up its staff strength and adopting innovative technical solutions.
The Embassy said that process improvements and investments in staffing have brought the appointment wait time for visitor visas down from an average of 1,000 days to only 250 days around the country.
Wait times are minimal in all other categories, it said.
In 2023, the U.S. consular team in India issued over 140,000 student visas more than in any other country in the world, setting a record for the third year in a row.
Taken individually, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai now stand as the top four student visa processing posts in the world.
As a result of these surging numbers, Indian students have become the largest group of international graduate students in the United States and make up more than a quarter of the over one million foreign students studying in the United States, said the Embassy statement.
It further said that employment visas remain a top priority for the US.
The statement said that the US Consular Team in India consolidated most petition-based visa processing in Chennai and Hyderabad to increase efficiency, leading to the processing of over 380,000 employment visas for Indians and their family members in 2023 and allowing the US Mission to maintain a minimal appointment wait time.
In 2024, a pilot program will allow eligible H1B holders to renew their visas in the United States, further streamlining the process for this group, it said.
The release said, Consulate General Mumbai eliminated a queue of over 31,000 immigrant visa cases delayed by the pandemic. Those who have a pending immigrant visa petition and are ready for scheduling can now obtain an appointment within the standard, pre-pandemic appointment window.