On April 18, 2022, the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Mr. Don Heflin hosted a Facebook Live session to share important updates on how consular posts across India will prioritize interview appointments for nonimmigrant visa applicants in the coming months.
Updates for Work Visa Applicants (H/L/O):
- U.S. Consulates will collectively process approximately 800,000 visas in the next 12 months. Of this, 300,000 will be H/L/O visas.
- For H/L/O first time visa applicants, in-person interview appointment dates will be made available from July 2022 onwards at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai.
- For Blanket L visa applicants, in-person interview appointment dates will be made available for mid-June 2022 at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai.
- Appointment dates are currently not available for H/L/O dropbox cases due to oversubscription in this category. These appointments should be available from September 1st, 2022 onwards.
Updates for Student Visa Applicants (F/M/J):
For F/M/J visa dropbox applicants, appointment dates will be made available in May for mid-June 2022 onwards at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai. These dates will be available even earlier at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. It is important to note that Mr. Heflin specifically reiterated that appointments will be made available only for first time applicants. If a student is denied a visa, he mentioned the possibility of scheduling a second interview though they do not give such cases any priority. Hence, he reiterated that students should submit the strongest visa application the first time, failing which, they may not have an opportunity to reapply for a visa for this semester/ year.
Updates for Tourist Visa Applicants (B1/B2):
- For B1/B2 dropbox eligible applicants, appointment dates will be made available for the third week of July 2022 at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai.
- Beginning September 1, 2022, up to 500 appointments will be made available daily, at all Consulates, for B1/B2 first time applicants requiring an in-person interview appointment.
A few other salient points to note:
- The system of dropbox submissions without appointments as was prevalent prior to the COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to be reinstated.
- Appointment slots will be opened in tranches; they will not be available all at once for any category of visa.
- Dropbox eligible applicants can select a convenient date for their biometrics appointment, and these applicants will have the option to choose any Consular post to attend that appointment.
A recording of this session can be found here. We will continue to keep applicants updated on any new developments.