US visa appointment: This Indian city steals the show with least number of waiting days

In India, the waiting period for appointments to apply for US visas has surpassed two years. The appointment wait time for Delhi is 833 days while the wait period for Mumbai is 848 days. While there is frustration and disappointment about the massive delay, Chennai seems to be enjoying a fair advantage. The waiting period for Student/Exchange Visitor Visas in the city now stands at just 29 days.

Also Read: US visa appointments in India now open for all categories but…

To give some context, the waiting period for the same category is over 400 days in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. While people wonder why such a huge difference, some have started getting curious if Chennai has the least number of applicants who want to study in the US. Sumeet Jain, Co-founder at Yocket, spoke to Mint and clarified the confusion.

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The visa appointment time in various Indian cities as of September 30. (Sounak Mukhopadhyay)

Also Read: US to solve visa backlog for Indians in the next few months

“No, it doesn’t mean that Chennai has fewer applicants than all the others just based on this. These are just placeholder dates. When the slots open up, we will see the appointments much sooner than this. It also depends on the staff present at the consulate and the available slots,” Jain said.

Also Read: US tourist visa waiting period goes over 2 years for India

According to Jain, if your nearest city – be it Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai or Hyderabad – has a much longer waiting period, you may apply in Chennai instead. There is no rule that bars Indian students from applying from any particular city as they are allowed to apply from any consulate in the country.

Also Read: US explains why visa waiting time for New Delhi is 2 years, 2 days for Beijing

Meanwhile, Don Heflin – US Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs – explained the reason behind such a long waiting time. He blamed it on the low number of staff at the visa centres. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and for a while after, they only had about 50% staff in the visa consulates. However, as per Heflin, the good news is the recovery from the pandemic is strong and the staffing problem is being handled.

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