US consular update- India!

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Dev B. Viswanath, Esq. (Photo courtesy of Dev B. Viswanath, Esq.)

Pursuant to a recent announcement by US Consular Post- Mumbai, effective immediately, U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai will only provide essential services to U.S. citizens and limited visa services until further notice due to rising COVID rates and for the safety and protection of our customers and staff.  Accordingly, some scheduled visa appointments will be cancelled.

The Consulate has been notifying applicants directly by email regarding appointment cancellations. Applicants not notified of an appointment cancellation should plan to attend their interview appointment on the scheduled date and time.  Appointments at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and consulates general in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata are unaffected at this time.

U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the consulates general in Chennai Hyderabad, and Kolkata continue to accommodate a limited number of regular visa appointments across all visa classes. Appointments will be added as often as they have availability, but the Consulate expects appointment slots to be filled quickly. Other routine services remain temporarily suspended.

Due to significant backlogs from the past year in pandemic, the US consular services cannot confirm when delayed immigrant visa appointments may occur.  If you have received written notification from the Immigrant Visa Unit at U.S. Consulate General Mumbai requesting you schedule an appointment for a visa interview then you should inquire right away to see if you still can attend your interview.

Here are some additional updates from the Consular Post:

Negative COVID-19 Test Required for Travel: Effective January 26, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test (a viral detection test for SARS-CoV- 2 approved or authorized by the relevant national authority), taken within 72 hours of departure​.  Airlines must confirm the negative test result for all passengers before boarding.  ​Airlines must deny boarding of passengers if they do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery.

Drop Box Applications:  Consular sections across India are now accepting drop box applications for renewals of all nonimmigrant visa categories up to 48 months after expiration of your visa at Visa Application Centers across India expired within the 48 months prior to the date of application is eligible for an interview waiver for a visa application in the same classification.

Employment-based Visa Appointments:  Presidential Proclamation 10052, which temporarily suspended the entry of certain H-1B, J (for certain categories within the Exchange Visitor Program), and L nonimmigrants, expired on March 31, 2021. The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India are accommodating a limited number of employment-based visa appointments, including those previously affected by the suspension. Please note that processing time for nonimmigrant visas varies, but generally takes at least one week.

Visa Fees Validity Extension:  The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India understand that many visa applicants have paid the visa application processing fee and are still waiting to schedule a visa appointment.  We are working diligently to restore all routine visa operations as quickly and safely as possible.  In the meantime, rest assured that the U.S. Mission will extend the validity of your payment (known as the MRV fee) until September 30, 2022, to allow all applicants who were unable to schedule a visa appointment as a result of the suspension of routine consular operations an opportunity to schedule and/or attend a visa appointment with the already paid fee.  Please continue to monitor this site for information on when we will return to routine visa operations.

How to Request an Expedited Appointment:  Applicants can request an expedited appointment through the online appointment system. You must already have a confirmed interview appointment date in order to request an expedited appointment.  If your emergency appointment request is approved, you will be notified with instructions via email.  You should not cancel your existing appointment unless you receive a confirmation that your request for an emergency appointment has been approved.

If you or a loved one have any questions at all, please reach out to a knowledgeable Immigration Professional.

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