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Guide: Visa Appointment Wait Times

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • To apply for a U.S. visa from India, Indians must meet eligibility requirements, including having a valid passport, a temporary purpose of visit, sufficient funds, and proof of residence outside the U.S.
  • Required documents include a valid passport, recent photographs, Form DS-160, and the U.S. visa fee receipt.
  • Visa applicants must schedule an appointment at the U.S. embassy in New Delhi, with wait times typically ranging from 60 to 120 days.
  • Expedited interviews may be granted in emergency situations.

When applying for a United States visa, one of the frustrating things one has to deal with is waiting. Besides investing time in filling out proper forms, and supplementing them with relevant documents, one has to set aside time simply for waiting to get his/her visa processed.

But how long exactly is this wait time? And can we do anything to minimize this? In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about United States visa wait times.

Requirements to Apply for a Visa From India

Indians looking for a United States visa need to make themselves eligible before going ahead with the application process. If you are applying even when you are ineligible, you’ll just be wasting your time and that of the consular.

Here are some basic requirements for Indians:

  • A valid passport with a duration of at least six months
  • Purpose of the visit should be temporary
  • Sufficient funds in the bank account to cover your travel expenses
  • Proof that you have a residence outside of the United States and you’re not abandoning it

Since different types of visas are issued for different reasons (student visa, business visa), requirements will differ. Once you have cross-checked, you can move ahead with the application process.

Here are the documents required for a U.S. visa application:

  • Valid Passport
  • 2 passport-size recent photographs
  • Form DS-160
  • U.S. Visa Fee receipt

You’ll be asked to make a biometric appointment for further verification.

What Is Form DS-160 and Who Needs It?

DS-160 is the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, which all applicants looking for a U.S. visa must submit. This is the first step towards your visa application process. After you have filled it out, you need to keep a copy of it along with the barcode page for furthering your case.

All visa applicants, including those seeking K visas, need to submit this form online and carry a copy of it to their interviews.

Can I Schedule a U.S. Visa Appointment From India?

You can always schedule a U.S. visa appointment from India, given that your form has been accepted and is in the processing stage. You’ll need to visit the U.S. embassy in New Delhi for your interview.

How Long are Visa Appointment Wait Times?

While the United States tries to be as efficient as possible, wait times are still long. The length of the visa appointment wait times can vary from case to case. The seasonal workload and number of pending applicants also influence the estimated wait time. But the majority of the wait times fall somewhere between 60 to 120 days, or even longer.

Expedited Interview Appointment

There are instances where your appointment can be pushed ahead of other applicants and scheduled earlier. These expedited interviews may be granted in situations such as a funeral, medical emergency, school start date, etc.

The process for the expedited interview varies by location, and you’re advised to visit the consulate for more details. You will be asked to submit proof of the emergency you are facing.

But the visa application process remains the same. You have to submit DS-160, pay the fees, and schedule the first available interview date. This is, however, at the discretion of the embassy officials, and they may reject your plea of an expedited interview.

How Much Does a Visa Application Cost?

The cost of a United States visa varies by type. For non-petition based visas, it is $160. For petition-based visas, fees are set at $190. For E type visas, you have to pay $205, and for K visas, which are for a spouse or fiancé, fees are set at $265.

Certain visas do not require fees to be paid. These include A, G, C-2, C-3, NATO, and diplomatic visas, government-sponsored J visas, applicant’s part of an international agreement, etc.

Read More

Conclusion

When filling out the DS-160, you must provide accurate details and documents which are in-line with the USCIS guidelines. Otherwise, the wait time may be increased, or, worse, the application may get rejected.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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