The US Embassy in India has opened visa appointments for all categories. However, due to a surge in visa requests, the appointment waiting period goes up to over 2 years in some categories. The embassy, on its website, clarified that these open visa appointments are not for place holder appointments. First-time applicants for USA’s B1-B2 visa, who are not eligible for interview waivers are called placeholders. Now, because the interviews haven’t taken place, their placeholder position will be cancelled.
Visa appointment booking made at least two to three months in advance may be referred to as a placeholder appointment that may be cancelled.
In May this year, the US Embassy had said that applicants whose placeholder appointments were cancelled could re-enter the scheduling system to book regular appointments, reported LiveMint.
Now, the US Embassy in India, in its latest announcement has said that certain visa applicants will be exempted from having to appear in person for an interview till December 2020. However, the order will not be applicable to applicants who have already been denied but the rejection was not later overturned or waived.
If any extra information is needed, the consulate may call such applicants for face-to-face interviews.
Candidates who renew any visa within 48 months of its expiration are still qualified for the interview waiver.
Visa appointments had remained stalled since March 2020 due to various reasons including disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Travellers to the USA will still be required to furnish their COVID-19 vaccination certificates before taking the flight. However, for movement inside the country, no negative COVID-19 report will be needed as it was required previously.
As US Embassy announced to resume the visa application process, the waiting period for fresh visitor visa appointments in New Delhi surged to 833 calendar days whereas, for student/exchange visitor visas and all other non-immigrant appointments, there was a waiting period of 430 and 390 days respectively. A marginally shorter wait period was recorded at the US consulates in Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata. In Chennai, the waiting period for student/exchange visitor visas was the shortest at just 29 days.