US Visas Process: The U.S. Consular Team in India has processed more visas in 2023 than ever before. According to the US Embassy and Consulates in India, the Visitor visa appointment wait time has been reduced by 75%. In 2023, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India processed a total of 1.4 million U.S. visas. As compared to 2022, there was an increase in applications by 60% across all visa classes. Indians now represent one out of every ten U.S. visa applicants around the world.
At over 700,000, visitor visas (B1/B2) have the second-highest number of applications in the history of the U.S. Mission. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates met the rising demand through a three-month staffing surge in Mumbai early in the year, increased permanent staff levels, and the employment of innovative technical solutions. This brought down the appointment wait time for visitor visas from an average of 1,000 days to only 250 days across the country. Wait times are minimal in all other categories.
In 2023, the U.S. consular team in India issued over 140,000 student visas which is more than in any other country in the world setting a record for the third year in a row. Individually, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai now stand as the top four student visa processing posts in the world. With the surging numbers, Indian students have become the largest group of international graduate students in the United States and make up for more than a quarter of over one million foreign students studying in the United States.
Employment visas remain a top priority as the Consular Team India consolidated most petition-based visa processing in Chennai and Hyderabad to increase efficiency, Over 380,000 employment visas for Indians and their family members were processed in 2023 allowing the U.S. Mission to maintain a minimal appointment wait time. In 2024, a pilot programme will allow all eligible H1B holders to renew their visas in the United States, further streamlining the process for this group.
The Consulate General Mumbai eliminated a queue of over 31,000 immigrant visa cases delayed due to the pandemic. Those who have a pending immigrant visa petition and are ready for scheduling can now obtain an appointment within the standard, pre-pandemic appointment window.
The U.S. Mission continues to invest in the future of consular services in India and explore ways to provide more efficient and convenient services. These investments have included the opening of a new $340 million facility in Hyderabad in March 2023, the announcement of two new consulates in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, continued capital improvements to our facilities around the country, and the permanent assignment of more consular officers to India.