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The State Department is committed to facilitating legal travel to the United States while ensuring national security.

Many US visa applicants are required by US law to appear in person. However, local restrictions during the pandemic in public places such as our consular sections abroad reduced our ability to see visa applicants. This reduced the number of visa applications the Department could process. Now that most countries have lifted restrictions, ninety-six percent of our embassies and consulates can offer regular visa services. A combination of pent-up demand over the past two years combined with normal seasonal demand has led to longer wait times for US visa interview appointments in some places, especially for first-time visitor visa applicants and immigrant visa applicants in some countries.

The State Department is successfully reducing wait times for visa interviews around the world. We have doubled US Foreign Service staffing to do this important work, visa processing is rebounding faster than expected, and we expect to reach pre-pandemic visa processing levels in FY2023.

From November 2022, the waiting time for an interview appointment for a tourist visa (B1/B2) is around two months worldwide, and applicants with urgent travel needs who meet certain criteria can request an emergency appointment, usually available within a few days. We are committed to continuing our progress and reducing wait times for visa interview appointments as quickly as possible.

Over the past year, we have made significant strides to return visa processing levels to pre-pandemic levels and reduce appointment wait times by:

These achievements are just the beginning of a new approach to our work. The State Department’s dedicated staff will continue these and additional efforts to meet the unprecedented demand, so the American people and the US economy benefit from keeping our doors open to lawful visitors.

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