With demand very high, the Embassy of the United States in India issued notice on its website that it may not be able to accommodate would-be travellers on their preferred dates of departure, regardless of whether or not their travel plans were time-sensitive.
Due to staff shortages and other pandemic-related disruption, the Embassy in New Delhi said that the demand for visas across all categories is high and that wait times may also be longer for most non-immigrant visa appointments, and added that same was true of the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.
It also tweeted, "Visa appointments are now open for all categories! But because of high demand, wait times remain significant. Join us Thursday, Sept 29 at 3 pm IST on U.S. Embassy India's Facebook & Instagram pages for a candid chat with our Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Don Heflin."
The Embassy informed that the US State Department had authorised consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain categories of visa applicants -- F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas -- until December 31, 2022.
With Indians able to travel once following nearly two years of curbs due to the pandemic, demand for US visas has skyrocketed. On average, in Delhi, the waiting period for Visitor Visas is 833 calendar days, 430 calendar days for Student/Exchange Visitor visas and 390 calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas.
Similarely, at the Consulate in Mumbai, the average waiting time is 767 calendar days for Visitor visas, 444 calendar days for Student/Exchange Visitor visas and 360 calendar days for all other non-immigrant visas.