? Process approximately 600-800 applications per day in off season; sometimes 1,000 in the peak summer months; 15-20 cases per hour.
? 38-minute average wait time for NIVs.
? Currently, there is an approximately 3 day wait time to get an NIV interview appointment – but it varies based on time of year, consular staffing, etc.
? Applicants should plan to arrive 5 minutes early – no need to arrive earlier than that.
? Applicants must go through security clearance; bring as little “stuff” as possible to facilitate clearance.
? Once applicant clears security, they are given a token which indicates their place in line.
? First stage – verify biometrics; then take a seat and wait for interview.
? Average interview time is 2-4 minutes.
? Applicants may choose to have interview conducted in English or in native language.
? Goal is to get applicants in and out in 30 minutes once they receive the token.
? 97% of all applicants are given a decision the same day.
? If approved, it currently takes 1-3 days to get the visa.
? All officers are trained to adjudicate all NIV application types.
? NIV Chiefs throughout India talk at least weekly.
? T and U cases are growing.
? Over 90% of H-1Bs approved.
? Student visa approval rates have increased.
? Process approximately 80 per day.
? All applicants arrive at 8:00 AM; all interviews are generally complete by 11:00 AM.
? Process takes approximately 1 hour.
? IV applicants are given a token once they clear security.
? Spouse/petitioner can come to the interview, but the vast majority do not attend.
? No backlog; interviews are scheduled as soon as USCIS sends the case.
? 95% of IV applicants are from Punjab.
Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU):
? Purpose is to support adjudicators in making better decisions faster.
? Some cases are fast – take just a few days to a week to verify information.
? DNA checks take longer.
? Consular officers look for anomalies (cultural, economic, education) that indicate the person isn’t applying for the right visa or is trying to skirt the system.
? 18 NIV interview windows; only 12 are in use right now; 2 waiting areas.
? During training period, adjudicators will only handle one type of case at a time but once fully trained, all officers handle all types of cases.
? Post is constantly looking at streamlining the process; adjudicate applications in accordance with the FAM.
? In FY13, Mumbai adjudicated 216,000 NIV applications (14th in the world).
o 22,000 H-1Bs
o 12,000 F-1s (3rd largest post in the world)
o 14,000 H-4s
o 116,000 B-1/B-2s
o 21,000 C-1/Ds (2nd largest in the world)
? In FY13, 54,000 visa extensions were issued without an interview. When the applicant completes processing through www.ustraveldocs.com, based on their answers, they will receive a message that tells them they may qualify for interview waiver. Interview waiver cases take about 1 week to process. Routine to skip interviews for kids, renewals and seafaring extension cases.
? GSS was launched in India in October 2012. Two step process:
o Fingerprints, photo, etc. at offsite facility (goal of 30 minutes max).
o Interview at Consulate.
o Allows for group interviews.
o Centers across India (6 can receive documents; 22 only do limited services).
? F-1s: 25% increase in applications and a 50% increase in approvals.
o Upon arrival at Consulate, applicants wait in outside area and are called in in groups as space permits.
o Biometrics are verified.
o Average wait time = 45 minutes; goal is 30 minutes.
? It is becoming rare to cancel visas due to typos as a result of the work of the offsite centers.
? Potential immediate relative green card petitioning is not a good reason to deny B-2s; don’t want to encourage unnecessary green card filing.
? Physical therapists and others needing licensing exams in the U.S. and using the B-2 – intent to later obtain an H-1B should not be a 214(b) problem.
? March and December (around Christmas) are busiest.
? B-1 in lieu of H-1B is okay.
? Generally, 2-3 days to get H-1B visa stamping, officially, it is 3-5 days.
? Neufeld memo issues generally not a factor in Mumbai if USCIS has already “blessed” the petition.
? 21,000 IV cases adjudicated in FY13 (down from FY12; 8th largest in world).
? Cases involve every IV category, but mostly CR-1, F-3, F-4, IR-5.
? 5 full-time IV officers.
? Post employs individuals who speak 8 of the most common languages in the Mumbai jurisdiction.
? IV cases are interviewed in a wing that is separate from the NIV cases.
? There are 3 booths that are equipped for privacy in dealing with potential fraud issues.
? Transitioning now to DS-260.
? 221(g) cases have decreased in 2013 from 2012.
? Starting in January 2014, will be staggering IV appointments. Goal is to have IV applicants in and out in 90 minutes.
? Yesterday (Nov. 18, 2013), issued first fiancé visa to same-sex couple.
? Difference in processing times for K-1 visa vs. CR-1 visa is very small.
? Religious Marriages: Though religious marriage is recognized under Indian law as legal even before registration, most states require registration, so as a best practice, you should generally insist on registration before filing.
? There are an estimated 80,000 USCs in Mumbai jurisdiction. Many are children born in India to USCs.
? FY13 – Issued 3,100 passports; 250 CRBAs (Consular Record of Birth Abroad).
? Also handles surrogacy issues (1/3 of overall caseload) and international child abduction cases (approximately 20 cases currently).
? ACS has 1 entry level officer, plus Acting Chief, plus 6 locally-engaged staff.
? Post “strongly encourages” DNA testing in all surrogacy cases though it is not required.
? ACS duty officer on call 24 hours.
? USCs should register when traveling abroad through travel.state.gov.
? FPU conducts research to assist adjudicators. FPU officers do not adjudicate applications and do not provide advice on decision-making. Provide facts to adjudicators on relevant issues only.
? FPU contributed to more than 11,000 cases in FY13. Most resulted in “travel facilitation” – very few involved actual fraud.
? One-half the workload is NIV; one-half is IV; B-1/B-2 is the largest portion of NIV work.
? FPU spends good amount of time investigating large-scale document fraud rings and smuggling.
? One-year training period for locally-engaged staff. Try to have “skilled, culturally aware investigators.”
? In the last couple of years, 221(g) letters have changed. Post is trying to make a decision at the window in as many cases as possible and minimize 221(g) cases.
? Should no longer receive 221(g) letters asking for everything; Post is trying to limit requests to documents that are specifically needed.
? End-client letters are generally not requested anymore.
? Currently have 19 H-1B cases pending officer action. One year ago it was 160.
? Post is aiming for a 2 week turn around on 221(g) letters once the additional information is received.
? Documents submitted in response to a 221(g) letter will typically go to the same officer who conducted the interview, unless the officer has moved to another post.
? If case is held for administrative processing (i.e., HQ is involved, not a request for additional documentation), a 90 day window is considered normal.
? There are countless reasons why a case could be held for administrative processing.
? Post routinely runs reports to check on status of these cases.
? If case is held for AP and the applicant needs to return to the U.S. urgently, he or she should communicate that at the window and an expedite will be considered. But, expedites will only be granted if it is in the interest of the U.S. government or there are humanitarian grounds (illness, etc.). Students who need to get back to class and physicians in designated shortage area will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
? If a petition is returned to USCIS for revocation and USCIS affirms the petition approval, Post will typically call the person back in to re-interview.