US visa update: Over 1 lakh H&L work visa appointments released

Taking high demand for employment-based visas into account and considering the people who haven’t been able to come home and see their family since the pandemic started, the US Mission to India has released over 1,00,000 appointments for H&L visas for workers and their families.

“In response to high demand for employment-based visas, the US Mission to India recently released over 100,000 appointments for H&L workers and their families. Thousands of applicants have already booked their appointments and the wait time for both interview waiver and first-time appointments has been cut in half throughout Mission India. This bulk appointment opening reflects our ongoing commitment to H&L workers,” the US Embassy in India tweeted on Friday

The tweet thread further read, “In fact, in the first nine months of 2022, the U.S. Mission to India had already processed over 160,000 H&L visas and we will continue to prioritise H&L workers for visa appointments as resources allow.”

After External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar brought up the issue of visa delays with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month, this was among the key assurances given by the US mission.

On 30 September, US Embassy Counselor Don Heflin had acknowledged that there are people in the US on H and L visas who haven’t been able to come home and see their family since the pandemic started. He stated that “…we sympathize with them a lot. We are going to, sometime in the next few weeks, open 100,000 appointments in the year 2023 for this category of visas. And for those of you who are interested in this and want a slot, just check our website every two or three days, every two or 3 hours during October.”

Counselor Heflin further warned the applicants not to check the website more frequently than advised. He mentioned, “Don’t check it any more than that because it will lock you out. You’re locked out for 72 hours.”

As of Friday, the wait times for first-time applicants for B1 (business) and B2 (visitor) visas were 884 days in Delhi and 872 in Mumbai, edging closer to 2.5 years.

Among the most popular non-immigrant work visas in the US are L-1 and H-1B. While L-1 is better suited for those working for MNCS, H-1B is better suited for those intending to work for US businesses and needing more job flexibility.




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