Limited reopening of US Consulates in India

By Dev Banad Viswanath, Esq.

The Covid 19 pandemic created a huge mess in the world including with USA visa processing. After several months of being closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, consular sections at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and Consulates in Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata began the limited processing of student and academic exchange visitor visa applications as well as H1B and L1 Visa applications on August 17, 2020.

The consulates will first process emergency student and exchange visitor appointment requests they received prior to August 12 and then offer appointments to the public. The same will be true for H1B and L1 applicants. It will be a bit of a rat race, as they expect to do ”first come first serve”, and based on importance.  Many people who look to secure a visa appointment will not be allowed to because of limited capacity.

It is recommended that students and exchange visitors should schedule an appointment no more than three weeks prior to their class start date. And that H1B applicants and L1 applicants be prepared to explain the reason why they need an appointment immediately.  Employers must be prepared to support these applicants. The consulates do expect appointment slots to fill up quickly. Student visas are a high priority for the consulates however they will not be able to accommodate all the student visa requests in time for the start of the fall semester.

            The consulates will still be closed for regular immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services. However, emergency appointments are still available if the circumstances are dire.  Anyone or any applicant in a situation whereby they need to return to the US immediately, please contact an experienced immigration attorney or begin preparing a strong case for consideration. Nonetheless, it is a movement in the right direction and we are seeing life move in the right direction.

Unfortunately, there is no set date of when those services will be resumed for other categories. But we will obviously be monitoring the same and report the outcome to all our followers.

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