US to open interview waiver appointments for B1/B2 visas in Delhi, Mumbai & Chennai in December

NEW DELHI: The United States Embassy will open some drop box (interview waiver) appointments for B1 (business) and B2 (tourist) visas in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai this December. As on Monday (November 29), the US state department website shows a wait period for B1/B2 interview waiver or drop box at 297 days in Mumbai; 233 days in Delhi and 171 days in Chennai. The B1/B2 applicants required to appear for an interview have a waiting period of close to 1,000 days in India.
“Looking for a B1/B2 interview waiver (dropbox) visa appointment? Good news! We’ve opened a number of B1/B2 interview waiver appointments for the coming month in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Book now in time for holiday travel,” the US Embassy Tweeted on Monday.
In a bid to cut waiting time, the US has made more visa applicants eligible for interview waiver and is for the first time ever sending some of these “drop box” applications from India abroad for adjudication. Now, Indians whose B1/B2 visas expired within four years — instead of one year earlier — of applying for a new one under the same category will be eligible for drop box.
The US embassy in India had recently released over a lakh appointments for the employment-based H&L category of visas and their family members. The H category (including H1B) drop box remains high priority as these people have been unable to come home to India and visit their families for some years now.
“If you are in America and your H1 has expired, or you were a student and got a H1 change (meaning got a job after completing studies and then this visa), you don’t have to come back to India to get the visa stamped. You are legal. But when you want to come to India, you need to get the visa stamped before returning to the US. This appointment category had got packed up due to which many people could not come home. We are tackling this very furiously and had recently released a lakh appointments for them,” a senior US embassy official had said recently.
The US state department had last week said “the global median wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) interview appointment is under two months as of this month.” Uncle Sam has in past two months taken a number of steps to speed up things in India but given the backlog and number of applications here, it may take several months before the interview appointment wait period falls.

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