The U.S. Embassy opens up 100,000 visa appointments in India: Waits Over

Frustrated Indians who have been waiting endlessly to get their U.S. work visas can now rejoice as the U.S. Mission to India has released over 100,000 appointments for H&L workers and their families. This impressive achievement not only reduces the wait time for both interview waiver and first-time appointments by half across all mission points in India but also speaks volumes about the commitment of the United States towards its H&L workers.

The process of booking these appointments has already started, and thousands of applicants are quickly taking advantage of this unique opportunity. With such a large number of appointments being released, it is safe to say that many people will be able to fulfill their dreams of working in the United States.

This initiative from U.S. Mission to India comes at a very crucial time when most countries are still trying to recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With these appointments, the U.S. has once again shown its consistency in providing support for skilled laborers and other professionals who want to relocate to the United States for better career opportunities.

The release of these appointments surely brings a ray of hope amidst this uncertain situation and gives us a glimpse into what could be achieved if global cooperation increases even further in the future. So while we take pride in this historic milestone achieved by U.S. Mission to India, let us also look forward to more such positive developments in the near future.

U.S. visas, particularly the much sought-after H-1 B visa, are designed for foreign workers who seek to be employed with American companies. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently confirmed this in response to Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s concern regarding visa delays. Don Heflin, a Counselor at the U.S. Embassy, further offered some hope when he stated that they plan on opening 100,000 appointments for the 2023 year to accommodate those with H and L visas who have been stranded away from their families since the onset of the pandemic.

For those unfamiliar with these visas, the H visa is reserved for highly skilled professionals. In contrast, the L visa would allow American companies to transfer a manager, executive, or someone with special knowledge from overseas. As such, these programs offer pathways into the U.S. for highly sought-after skills and knowledge that can bolster local industries and create employment opportunities for foreigners.

The news that 100,000 appointments are planned for 2023 is welcome news for those who are in this difficult situation. However, there remain many questions about what happened until then, as the majority of these people still have not been able to reunite with their families since the pandemic began. It remains unclear what kind of relief measures will be put in place to alleviate some of their sufferings during this time and how quickly they will be able to access such assistance should it become available.

Routine B1/B2 Appointments:
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, along with its consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai, resumed processing of routine B1/B2 visa appointments for 2022 and 2023 starting in September. The Department of State has authorized consular officers to waive the traditionally-required in-person interview for certain categories of visa applicants until December 31, 2022. This waiver applies to travelers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas who were issued a previous visa from their country of nationality or residence. However, this exemption does not apply to applicants that have had a refusal that was not subsequently waived or overcome. Consular officers may request an in-person interview if more information is needed from the applicant. Those renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration are also still eligible for a waiver on the interview requirement.

The embassy encourages all travelers seeking to apply for a visa to take advantage of this waiver opportunity when available. The mission is eager to support individuals looking to travel to the United States while ensuring they abide by necessary protocols and regulations during the application process. All applicants should ensure they are aware of the latest updates and policies related to visa applications before submitting their information, as they could be subject to changes at any time without prior notice.

Visa Fee Validity:
Anyone who wishes to apply for a nonimmigrant visa must pay a fee, often referred to as the MRV fee. This payment is valid for an entire year from the date that it is officially processed and receipted. That means that all MRV payments made on or after October 1, 2022, will remain valid until almost exactly one year later, regardless of when they are actually used. This allows individuals plenty of time to make sure their visa applications are in order and ready to go before the expiration date of their payment comes due.

The U.S. Department of State encourages those considering applying for a visa to use this window wisely and check their documents and application materials thoroughly before submitting them. It can also be helpful to keep an eye on changing immigration regulations so applicants can stay current with any new requirements or policies that could affect their chances of successfully obtaining a visa.

Those who need help navigating the process may want to consider consulting with qualified immigration professionals for assistance in ensuring their paperwork and applications are properly prepared and submitted in time for the expiry date of the MRV fee payment.

Applicants have a period of 365 days to schedule an in-person or interview waiver appointment. However, the actual interview should not take place inside a time machine! That would be one way to speed through the process, but not recommended. So best make sure you get your appointment booked in the allotted time—no time travel necessary!

For those of you who have already made the payment for MRV fees, don’t worry! You don’t need to make another payment for MRV fees until September 30, 2023. So you can sit back, relax and wait for your appointment.