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100,000 US Work Visa Appointments Opened For Indians
Today’s blog is about the 100,000 visa slots opened for Indian citizens and the reduced wait time for both interview waivers and first-time appointments.
The official announcement was released by the US Mission to India.
Indians waiting for their US work visa appointments can expect an interview call as the US Mission to India has released 100,000 appointments for H&L workers and their families.
The H visa, like the H-1 B visa, is sought after for highly skilled foreign workers seeking US employment while the L visas permit foreign companies to transfer a manager, executive, or person with specialized knowledge to the US.
The US embassy in a recent tweet has stated that the 100,000 appointments for H&L workers and their families are opened to cater to the high demand for employment-based visas.
The embassy has also stated that thousands of applicants have already booked their appointments. And the wait time for both interview waivers and first-time appointments has been shortened by half throughout Mission India. It refers to this bulk appointment opening as their ongoing commitment to H&L workers.
It further stated that the US Mission to India has already processed more than 160,000 H&L visas in the first nine months of 2022. The embassy has also expressed its continued commitment to prioritize H&L workers for visa appointments as resources permit.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken has also assured the Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar of speeding up the visa appointment in a discussion last month.
The Embassy Counselor Don Heflin on September 30, had acknowledged that when the pandemic started, many people in the US on H&L visas came back home to visit their families.
While extending his sympathies, he assured Indians that they will open 100,000 appointments in the year 2023 for this visa category.
Processing of B1/B2 appointments
Following the announcement, the US Embassy in New Dehli and the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai reopened the routine in-person B1/B2 visa appointments in September.
The embassy reported that the appointments filled in quickly for 2022 and 2023. It reassured that the Mission will open appointments as the capacity allows.
To further ease the process, consular officers were authorized by the Department of State to waive the in-person interview requirement for a few categories through December 31, 2022.
These categories include travelers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas. This authorization applies only to applicants who were previously issued any type of visa and if they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.
This authorization does not apply to applicants who have received a refusal that was not waived or overcome. The examining consular officers may also request an in-person interview if they require any additional information from applicants.
The embassy has also stated that the applicants renewing any visa under 48 months of expiration are eligible for an interview waiver.
Validity of Visa Fee
The application fee paid for a nonimmigrant visa, also known as the MRV fee, on or after October 1, 2022, is valid for 365 days from the date the receipt for the MRV fee payment is issued.
During these 365 days, the applicants must schedule an in-person or interview waiver appointment. There is no requirement for an interview or VAC appointment during these 365 days. The receipts for payment of MRV fees issued before October 1, 2022, are extended and remain valid till September 30, 2023.
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