In an effort to reduce visa appointment wait times for Indians intending to travel to the US, the American Embassy in India recently announced a new option that will allow Indians to request visa appointments in a select group of other countries.
To use as an example, the embassy stated in a February 3 Tweet that the US Embassy in Bangkok has made B1 and B2 visa appointments available for Indians who will be traveling to Thailand in the next few months. This effectively creates a “third-country option” for Indians seeking US visas if they will be traveling to other countries prior to traveling to the USA.
Who Are Third-Country US Visa Appointments Available To?
They will be available to Indian citizens who are not eligible for a visa interview waiver. This includes first-time US visa applicants and those who have previously had US visas that expired four or more years ago. The appointments are only available to those seeking Business (B1) and Tourist (B2) visas.
Which Countries are Participating in the Third-Country US Visa Appointment Option?
For now, appointments are being made available at American embassies and consulates in Thailand, Germany, and as always, in India. However, embassies/consulates in other countries may be offering this service as well, either now or in the future. You should contact the US embassy in the country you will be visiting for more information.
Why are US Embassies and Consulates Offering this Option?
This is a way to hopefully clear the sizeable backlog of people waiting for B1/B2 visa appointments at American embassies and consulates in India. The wait time for such an appointment currently averages around two years. With travel around the world opening up again, it is hopeful that offering more appointments in additional countries will help clear this backlog and spare Indians who are seeking US visas from these extremely long delays.
Are Visa Wait Times Shorter in Other Countries?
So far, yes; by a wide margin. The wait time for a US visa appointment in Bangkok is currently just 14 days. So, Indians who want to visit the USA for tourism or business purposes might do well to book a flight to Thailand ahead of time, rather than endure the 600-day appointment wait time in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, or Hyderabad.
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