The U.S. Embassy in India recently announced the opening of over 250,000 new nonimmigrant visa slots, stirring initial excitement among those seeking to travel to the U.S. However, it was soon discovered that these appointments are not up for grabs for the current year.

The embassy shared the news, highlighting the weekend’s efforts to increase the number of available visa appointments, but would-be travelers encountered a snag upon realizing that there were no slots available for 2023.

Individuals like Shubhashish, who attempted to reschedule his visa appointment, was met with the reality that Mumbai’s appointments were booked until June 2024, with Delhi offering the nearest date on February 22, 2024.

Similar frustrations were echoed across social media platforms, with one user pointing out that the next available slot was as far off as September 2024. Another applicant faced technical issues with the booking portal, lacking even the option to submit an appointment request, prompting them to reach out for urgent assistance.

A recent analysis by Mint, referencing the Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs, revealed that the waiting period for U.S. tourist visas across various Indian cities still exceeds 500 days, with wait times ranging from 506 to 596 days:

  • New Delhi: 542 days
  • Mumbai: 596 days
  • Kolkata: 539 days
  • Chennai: 531 days
  • Hyderabad: 511 days

Despite these lengthy delays, it’s noteworthy that the current 500-day wait marks a considerable improvement from earlier in the year when wait times approached 1,000 days.

To mitigate the protracted waiting times, which at one point neared a three-year duration last winter, the embassy has undertaken measures to expedite processing. This includes allowing Indian applicants to apply for visas at U.S. consulates in other countries, such as Thailand’s Bangkok, where the waiting period is significantly shorter.

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