Immigrant Visa Waiting Times

October 14, 2010

Kutaa Señor Vilhjalmur Stefansson.  It’s time for me to get back to blogging as well.

I visited Liberty Island and Ellis Island last month, Ellis Island for the first time in my life, and had a good time.  The immigrant experience has changed quite a bit since the immigration station at Ellis Island closed. Journeys of exploration are also not like they used to be in what seem like more heroic eras. The immigrant journey still involves waiting, but waiting for an immigrant visa interview rather than waiting on a vessel as it crosses the ocean.  In this post, I want to present some data I collected about immigrant visa appointment schedules from the Consulate General of the United States in Mumbai.  I’m hopeful that this post will attract some traffic from around the world, perhaps “tired”, “poor”, “huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” but probably not.


The Mumbai consulate lists interview dates for immigrant visas on their website by case number here.  An example of an entry is this:

BMB2010568011 IR5 10/6/2010 7:30

where the first item is the case number, the second item is the type of immigrant visa, the third item is the interview date at which the applicant is supposed to show up at the consulate, and the fourth item is the interview time.  For bureaucratic reasons, the case number is assigned by the State Department in an interesting way.  The first three characters indicate the embassy or consulate, here BMB referring to Mumbai (Bombay).  Other codes are things like LND for London, MNL for Manila, NWD for New Delhi, and OUG for Ouagadougou.  The next four characters indicating a year, the three characters after that the day of the year plus 500, and the last three characters the sequential case number assigned that day.  The most interesting of these is the day of the year plus 500.  In the example above, 568 indicates the 68th day of 2010, which is March 10.

This date, 3/10/2010, is when the case is given a case number by the National Visa Center in Portsmouth, NH.  After this assignment, the case is forwarded to the appropriate consulate or embassy, who then assign interview dates.  Before the consulate or embassy assigns the interview date, the applicant may also have to fill out some other form at the consulate or embassy which comes in the so-called Packet 3.  For example with the K1 visa, the applicant needs to submit a DS-230 Part I. This page has a nice flowchart describing the procedure for the K1 visa.

Thus based on the case number and interview date, one can determine the immigrant visa interview waiting time.  I collected interview date listings and calculated waiting times for 26 months in Mumbai: 8/2007, 1/2008, 3/2008, 4/2008, 5/2008, 10/2008, 11/2008, 1/2009, 2/2009, 4/2009, 5/2009, 6/2009, 7/2009, 8/2009, 9/2009, 10/2009, 12/2009, 2/2010, 3/2010, 4/2010, 5/2010, 6/2010, 7/2010, 8/2010, 9/2010, 10/2010, and 11/2010.  There were 543 K1 visa cases in the data.  A histogram of waiting time is as follows:

This histogram looked to me like a gamma distribution with a 6 week delay.  Gamma distributions are often used to model waiting time in queueing theory and other places, so it’s interesting that the data reveals the same form.  I did a maximum likelihood estimate of the parameters of a gamma distribution with 6 week delay and obtained the following:

The blue line is the maximum likelihood fit, and the green and red dashed lines represent a 95% confidence interval.

The mean waiting time for a K1 visa interview at Mumbai from the date assigned by the National Visa Center is 114.6 days.  The means of the 95% confidence interval boundaries are 99.4 days and 134.0 days.

The mode of the 543 data samples is 76 days.  The mode of the maximum likelihood fit distribution is 78.6 days.  The modes of the 95% confidence interval boundaries are 67.6 days and 93.1 days.

The bottom line is that one should expect a K1 visa interview 2-3 months after the National Visa Center assigns the case.  It would be interesting to analyze whether or not there are seasonal trends in the waiting times.  (For example, work on stochastic analysis and optimization of workforce evolution predicts hiring, termination, and job role transitions in December 2010 based on estimates of transition probabilities in previous Decembers.) What can be done to make the waiting time shorter for a specific case is another interesting question, but one beyond the scope of this analysis.  Once the case number is known, contacting the State Department at (603)-334-0700 and visiting the embassy or consulate even before receipt of Packet 3 may be good ways to expedite the process.

If a reader would like the raw data used in this analysis, or would like this analysis performed for an immigrant visa type other than K1, e.g. CR1 visa, DV visa, E2 visa, E3 visa, F1 visa, F2B visa, F3 visa, F4 visa, FX visa, IR1 visa, IR5 visa,  K3 visa, SB1 visa, and SD visa, please leave a comment.  Once there is enough interest, I will make that happen.

Are you still bound for Antartica, Lav?



  1. hi I want to ask about my sister case.she got a letter from nvc of f2b type visa and her priority date is march 2009.so how could we know when the priority date is current.Is there any possibility of changing from f2b to f2a?thank u.

    • My Uncle Put a File I-130 Petition for Alien relative at priority Date : April 04,2008 Receipt Number:WAC-08-190-10559 I want know how much time it take to complete process & get visa Letter please send reply as soon as possible

  2. […] Ashvins The Ultimate Machinists « Immigrant Visa Waiting Times Immigrant Visa Waiting Times Addendum November 11, 2010 Señor Kermit Romeo Erasmus, just […]

  3. […] I guess the waiting time for the next post on this blog is no longer governed by a tandem queue.  Interesting stuff, by the way.  Although analyzing the waiting times for this blog in particular is too meta, […]

  4. hello sir,
    before an 1 year ago i receive a latter from bombay in that they give this number
    Can u give me the detail about this case.

    • Mr. Makadiya,

      Your case was the 98th case assigned by the Department of State to the Consulate General Mumbai on February 11, 2010. If you tell me the visa type, e.g. CR1 or F1, I can show you the histogram of interview waiting times.

      You should keep checking http://mumbai.usconsulate.gov/interview_appt_schedule.html for your interview appointment.

      • My Petition for Alien Relative I-130 U.S. citizen filing for a brother or sister.
        covered in F4 Category.
        plz reply me as soon as possible.

      • Mr. Makadiya,

        I have plotted the interview waiting time distribution for the F4 visa in Mumbai at https://informationashvins.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/delay_histogram_f4.png

        You can see that there are three large peaks in the histogram at approximately 400 days, 1800 days, and 4100 days. 400 days after February 11, 2010 is March 18, 2011. 1800 days after February 11, 2010 is January 16, 2015. 4100 days after February 11, 2010 is May 4, 2021.

        The largest peak is the one after 4100 days. This 10 or 11 year delay corresponds well with the data available at http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/Cut-off_Dates_India_online.pdf

  5. hello sir,

    i m beneficial of cr1 visa.for my husband is us citizen and he requested to nvc for do expedite process for my file after we received (choice of agent) from national visa center . then nvc mail letter to my husband that
    [ your inquiry has been received at the nvc
    The u.s Embassy/consulate General has acceoted this case as an expedite.
    This file will be immediately forwarded to the u.s. Embassy/consulate General any further quetion regarding processing or interview appointment date should di directed to the u.s.Embassy/consulate general ] date of letter 15 th june
    and after received this letter i was received directly packet-3 at 22 th june from u.s.embassy/consulate general and i was fill this form and resend to us embassy. now i don’t know what is next step and us embassy does’t reply my answer by email and phon and we were not complete the case process at nvc because of that expedite process so please give me the answer of my question is thet what is my next step in this all situation please help me….

    • The data I have for the CR1 visa is shown in the post Immigrant Visa Waiting Times Addendum. My initial interpretation was that the second peak was for a second interview, but perhaps that is not the case. Perhaps there are two classes of cases, expedited and not expedited, which have different waits.

      • what i don’t understand u?

  6. expedite process is for fast process nd thats why nvc do not requirement for my any documents and nvc directly sent my case in us consulate in mumbai and now i was sent them my packet-3 before 17 days and i dont know that now what is my next step ?a nd if now i m received direct packet-4 so how many days required for packet-4? that is my qestion nd i will request u for required my all answer for naormal cr1 visa process also thank u

  7. hi sir can u give me some information about cr1 visa i was received packet-3 from mumbai consulate because my case is approve for the expedite process nd i was sent there packet -3 on jun 23rd i have to know about that what is the waiting time for cr1 packet-4 in this expedite process? and what is waiting time for packet-4 for cr1 in not expedite process pleas help me in this matter ………..
    thank you

  8. hi
    can you help me please my mumbai consulate is put my case pending i section 221 but they required with me same documents which they required with me 1 st time its sponsor nd my sponsor is already more than 125 poverty guideline than why they are tor charing me i am already my husband suffering with kidney failuer problem and thats why we expedited our process and after 19 days my husbands surjeriy of kidney transplant and my consular know that about this problem but they putting my case pending again and again so ple help what i can do now?

  9. Categeroy f4 nwd2009755036

    • my case number nwd2009755036 wait for interview letter

  10. Ms. Kaur,

    Your case was the 36th case assigned by the Department of State to the Embassy New Delhi on September 13, 2009. The interview waiting time distribution for the F4 visa in Mumbai can be found at https://informationashvins.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/delay_histogram_f4.png.

    Assuming the delay distribution in Mumbai and New Delhi are similar, we see that there are three large peaks in the histogram at approximately 400 days, 1800 days, and 4100 days. 400 days after September 13, 2009 was October 18, 2010. I assume you didn’t have your interview around then. 1800 days after September 13, 2009 is August 18, 2014. 4100 days after September 13, 2009 is December 4, 2020.

    The largest peak is the one after 4100 days. This 10 or 11 year delay corresponds well with the data available at http://www.travel.state.gov/pdf/Cut-off_Dates_India_online.pdf.

  11. Case number nwd2009755036 inter view date

  12. my f3 visa papers competed in last year march 2011 but after compete i asked us about my visa date? they told me your visa we send to bombay us embassy. we are waiting for visa dates when we will recieve visa date? my visa no-bmb2005 607068

    • Mr. and Ms. Shah,

      Your case was the 68th case assigned by the Department of State to the Mumbai Consulate on April 18, 2005. The interview waiting time distribution for the F3 visa in Mumbai can be found at https://informationashvins.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/delay_histogram_f3.png.

      We see that there are three large peaks in the histogram at approximately 600 days, 1500 days, and 2800 days. 600 days after April 18, 2005 was December 9, 2006. 1500 days after April 18, 2005 was May 27, 2009. 2800 days after April 18, 2005 will be on December 17, 2012. If your interview is at this peak, then it should be sometime near the end of this year or beginning of next year. Aside from a few outliers, the bulk of the data falls within 3600 days, which means February 25, 2015 for you; by this time you should have had your interview.

      • please give me contact number for asking about my visa call date.i am ii gujrat.

  13. sorry, my case no. isn’t : bmb2005 607068 but it is : BMB2005682060. So please give me some information regarding this case.

    • If it is an F3 visa, then everything above applies, just delay everything by two and a half months.

  14. Hi my case number is BMB2011615022 AND i already attended the interview on june 2011 and my case is in admin process so now how to know what is update in my case because they are not providing any information to me

    Thank you…

    • Which type of visa is it?

      • its k1 visa type

  15. Hi my case number is BMB2011615022 AND i already attended the interview on june 2011 and my case is in admin process so now how to know what is update in my case because they are not providing any information to me
    Thank you… My visa type is fiancé visa(k1) type visa

    • Case nwd2009755036 when the interview date case delhi tresfer

  16. Nvc case number Nwd2009755036 kindly check my case

  17. my nvc case number ISL2001804029 . Nvc maild me that yuor petitition returnd back to cis what it means and further what i should do to continue my process

  18. hi, my case PD is 12 sept 2001 world wide do u think this period could be shorter for world wide countries?
    tanx so much.

  19. sorry i’ve forget to say I am in F4 category

  20. I got my Case # BMB2009765051 in 2010 under F4 category. I submitted my papers required and got a mail from NVC that once its send to Mumbai Consulate we will inform.

  21. hi, my case number is BMB2006803008 of F4 category. Our priority date is 7 may 2001, we have completed all documents process and paid visa fees in 2010. Still waiting for visa interview letter, when will i get, can u tell me??

    • Reva,

      Your case was the eight case assigned by the Department of State to the Mumbai Consulate on October 31, 2006. The interview waiting time distribution for the F4 visa in Mumbai can be found at: https://informationashvins.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/delay_histogram_f4.png

      The largest peak is after 4100 days, which means a January 21, 2018 interview for you. There is a smaller peak at 1800 days, which would have meant an October 5, 2011 interview for you.

      • thanks kvarsh……..
        but right now priority date of F4 category is 15 february 2001. So dont u think v should get interview letter in 2 to 3 months??

      • Reva,

        I have no other information on this topic.

  22. Hi
    Read your blog, the information on case number was very helpful and interesting. I am from kolkata.
    have an approved K3 visa from USCIS and my case no is BMB2012699038, I have sent the initial paper sto mumbai consulate as reqd by packet 3 and have all my paers ready for the intreview but hve not received any information, please help

    • Rana,

      Your case was the thirty-eighth case assigned by the Department of State to the Mumbai Consulate on July 18, 2012. The interview waiting time distribution for the K3 visa in Mumbai can be found at: https://informationashvins.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/delay_histogram_k3.png.

      The peak is around 96 days, which means an approximate October 22, 2012 interview for you. There are very few samples after 190 days, which means it is quite likely for you to have an interview before January 24, 2013.

  23. Hi,

    I need a little help from your side. My fiancee applied for a K1 visa back in the month of May,2012. On 13th Aug,2012 the petition was approved and as usual the case was forwarded to Mumbai Consulate and the case number is BMB2012730045. It’s been 60 days I haven’t got my packet 3 yet. Honestly I don’t have any clue how long is it going to take.

    • Shawn,

      You may consider being proactive and not just waiting for the Packet 3 to arrive. You may consider giving a phone call to the Mumbai consulate’s visa section or to the National Visa Center at +1-603-334-0700 to find out the status of your application. You can also get a copy of the DS-230 Part I form yourself, fill it out, and submit it to the consulate.

      Your case was assigned to the consulate on August 18. The mode of the distribution discussed above for you is November 2, but your case is not listed here. Therefore, you should take proactive measures.

      • Thanks for ur prompt reply, sir. I’ve called up the Mumbai Consulate several times, they often tell me VFS deal with it and not them. Hence I spoke to VFS as well, the last VFS agent told me not to download the packet 3 from the website because that’s a demo version and it’s not applicable for every candidate so I gotta wait. And when it comes to DS 230 and DS 156 or any other documents, let me tell you sir that everything’s ready I just only need packet 3 so that I could submit it properly to the VFS centre.

      • You may have better luck finding out the status of your application from State Department offices located in the US. I think there is a common database that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

  24. Hlo,sir/madam
    I wan to know about my case status which is showing that your case is ready for interview when scheduled at embassy. I want to know that my intreview is scheduled or not. Pls suggest me plz

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  29. hi


    My Priority date os 10th sept 2013 for F2a Cat

    i Have recently submitted my PCC and NVC conform with mail that my case is complete.

    When cn i expect movement in F2A as there are 2 days fiff in cutoff date and how much time it will take to schedule my interview.

  30. hi,

    my case number is nwd2014528024
    visa category : F2A

    please help!

    • Hi,Greeting!!! My Priority date is 3 Sept 2013 For F2A Cat, I Have Submited PCC & NVC Conform with Mail on dt 15th May 2014 that ours case is Complete, When Can I Got Visa Leter, My P.D Is before Cutoff Date( i.e Current)but In July Buletin Cutoff date Back to 1 May 2012 So tell me How much time it will taketo schedulde my interview

      • Hi


        Now it’s difficult to predict further movement of f2a as now your PD no more current so u have to wait until your PD become current hope for oct 2014 VB which might start moveing from 8th sept 2013.

        I am also in the same boat even my case was complete since feb 2013 bt didn’t heard abt IL yet

        Pragnesh vyas

  31. hi my case number is NWD2010756023.under the F4 category.
    so what is the present status of my visa and how long cd it take for the next step to happen?thank u jai

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  33. I got Bmbnext no and invoice but now what is the next step and how much time it will take for processing

  34. Hello sir,
    My receipt number is EAC1490133443 i m waiting for approval latter plz give me information about that how much time i wait?

  35. my case number is BMB2015610005 i want to know how much time it will take to get me visa call.

  36. hello sir,
    my file category f3 and petition date is 29 july 2005, so how much will time to open the file and how much time will taken for the visa interview date.please let me known about this.we are badly waiting for time.

    • Hi my file category f3 and my priority date is 27 March 2007 so how much time it will take to open the file

      • Hi I got my bmb number and invoice number this april

      • Hi I got my bmb number and invoice number this april we belongs to f3 and priority date is March 2007 how much time it take to open the file

  37. sir, have received I-797 notice of action in December 21, 2009 of F-4 category. till we have not received any communication or BMB letter . what can be the reason?

  38. Hi sir
    I had submitF4 F4 file in February 2006, how much time taken clearing file.

  39. Excellent piece , BTW , others are requiring a 2015 CA FTB 592 , my friend filled a blank document here or http://www.photos.state.gov

  40. Hello,

    I have scheduled my interview slot for22nd Dec i’m waiting for my Acceptance and I20, what if the I20 does not reach me before 22nd Dec vqn I rescheduled my interview slot?

    Please respond as soon as possible.

    Thank you.

  41. my case for f4 category ..our case was completed on 22nd april 2016 . do u have any idea when we will get interview date at new delhi consulate ???
    pd -December 2002
    case completed – 22 nd april 2016

  42. I want your help to know interview waiting time for following immigrant files
    (1) Category: F-4, BMB2009838067 and BMB2009838079

    I have paid visa fees, filed up online DS-260, submitted affidavit of supports with supporting documents and also submitted Civil documents for above both files., which are under review, and we are waiting for visa call. Please let me know approximately what date are they schedule interview?

    Ramesh Patel

  43. hi good day iwant to know how much time to wait f4 visa filling our petetion on sept. 2005 how many years to wait the visa tnx god bless

  44. Excellent writing – I was enlightened by the specifics , Does anyone know if I can access a sample DS-230 example to edit ?

  45. my f4 categaory visa applied by brother on 23/7/2007 when can I got visa call

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