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Dec 1, 2022
B1/B2 Visa

Expediting B1/B2 Visa Appointment Delays

Applicants who have an emergent need to travel to the U.S. may have few options to travel to the U.S. by the proposed travel dates.

Expediting B1/B2 Visa Appointment Delays

Visa Appointment Wait times not yet to Pre-pandemic State

Interview wait times for first-time visitor visa applicants continue to rise, even as the overall global average has declined. In some countries, those applicants who have completed their DS-160 and have paid their MRV fee are finding it difficult to schedule their visa appointment for any reasonable date in the future.

In India, for example, visa wait times for first-time applicants are nearly three years, up to over 900 days before an applicant can find an available appointment. For an H-1B or L-1 visa appointment, the wait times are nearly 1 year.

The US Department of State announced that wait times in certain countries have risen due to the reduced workforce and coronavirus-related restrictions in operations since March 2020. The Department has continued to progress at reducing the visa wait times, but due to an ever-increasing number of applicants, the reduction of wait times has been slow.

The Department of State has discussed some strategies to improve wait times, including at high-profile locations such as India. These strategies have included bringing staff up to pre-pandemic levels; waiving the in-person interview requirement for students, some workers and those renewing visas, as well as sending visa applications to be adjudicated at slower posts. Unfortunately, while these strategies are good progress, it has not normalized visa wait times for all locations fast enough.

Expediting B1/B2 Visa Appointment Delays

Applicants who have an emergent need to travel to the U.S. but who are located in countries where visa appointments are backlogged may have few options to travel to the U.S. by the proposed travel dates. For those applicants who cannot qualify for the dropbox or waiver of their B-1/B-2 appointment, the only recourse the traveller may have is to request an expedited appointment.

Any traveller wishing to request an expedited appointment must first complete the DS-160 Application for Nonimmigrant Visa. You must have a confirmed interview date to request an expedited appointment. If your request is approved, you will receive instructions via email. Your request is still under consideration if you have yet to receive approval or denial. You should only cancel your appointment if you receive confirmation that your request has been approved.

The US Embassy has reaffirmed that expedited appointment slots are very limited. Due to the high volume of requests, the US Embassy cannot accommodate all travellers before their planned travel dates, even if the purpose of travel is time sensitive.

Only some travellers will be qualified for an expedited appointment with their local US consulate.

Expedited appointments are generally only reserved for those travellers with the following:
  • urgent medical needs or treatment,
  • the death of a loved one,
  • urgent business travel, which could cause severe economic harm to the US company, or
  • student or exchange visitors with program start dates nearing or where ESTA has been denied.

The US Embassy will need documentation and proof of the urgent travel need at the time of the expedited appointment request.

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