The United States has launched several new initiatives and schemes to reduce delays in visa processing in India. To reduce the wait time for all Indian applicants, the US has decided to increase visa processing capacity across India through initiatives such as scheduling special interviews for first-time applicants and increasing the strength of consular staff in the country.

The US in a statement said, as part of the multi-pronged approach to cut the visa backlog, the US embassy in Delhi and the consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad on the 21st of this month conducted the first in a series of special Saturday interview days, as part of a larger effort to reduce wait times for first-time visa applicants.

The mission will continue to open additional slots for appointments to take place on select Saturdays in the coming months to address the

backlog in visa processing caused by COVID-19.

The official release said, remote interview waivers will be conducted for those Indians who are not first-time US visa applicants. Further, additional slots will also be set up in several areas to speed up the process of the allocation of the visa. Between January and March this year, dozens of temporary consular officers from Washington and other embassies will arrive in India to increase visa processing capacity. 

Apart from this, the US mission has decided to release more than two lakh fifty thousand additional B1/B2 appointments, with B1 being a business visa and B2 being a tourism visa.

The US mission in India said the Consulate General in Mumbai also extended its weekday operating hours to make space for additional appointments. 

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