U.S. Consulate at Chennai Stops Immigrant Visa Processing

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that the U.S. Consulate at Chennai, India stopped processing immigrant visa (IV) petitions as of January 1, 2012. The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and U.S. Consulate in Mumbai are now the only locations in India conducting interviews for immigrant visa applicants. This change does not affect temporary, nonimmigrant visa categories such as B-1/B-2, F-1, and H-1/H-4, which continue to be processed at all U.S. consulates in India, including Chennai. The DOS announcement is available online.

As many regular readers of MurthyDotCom and the MurthyBulletin are aware, immigrant visas allow an individual to permanently reside in the United States and require family- or employment-based petitions. These cases are for permanent residence (commonly referred to as “green card”) cases involving individuals applying for immigrant visas at the consulates, rather than adjusting status (using Form I-485) from within the United States.

Prior Policy on Immigrant Visas in India

Until the end of 2011, IV applications were processed through locations in India: the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and the U.S. Consulates in Chennai and Mumbai. The Consulate in Mumbai temporarily stopped visa services in November 2011, during relocation from the Lincoln House in Breach Candy, to its newly expanded location in the Bandra Kurla Complex, or BKC, in Mumbai, India.

Pending IV Cases Remain at Chennai until March 30, 2012

The U.S. Consulate at Chennai will continue processing pending IV cases, which were interviewed on or before December 30, 2011. They also will continue accepting requested documentation in these cases. Inquiries regarding transmission of followup documents should be directed via eMail to: ChennaiIVU [at] state.gov. After March 30, 2012, any IV cases that have not been adjudicated will be transferred to Mumbai. Concerted efforts are being made to finalize pending cases before March 30, 2012.

Changes in Types of Visas Processed in Chennai

The elimination of IV processing at the U.S. Consulate at Chennai is part of ongoing efficiency and streamlining efforts to centralize the processing of cases. In November 2011, the U.S. Consulate at Chennai became the sole adjudicator of L-1 blanket visa applications in India. This was reported to readers in our article, Centralized L-1 Blanket Visa Processing in Chennai, India (18.Nov.2011), available on MurthyDotCom.


The changes to the immigrant visa processing and L-1 visa processing in Chennai are evidence of a shift toward centralization of visa processing. It is hoped that this will result in faster visa processing times, as well as improved consistency of decisions based on similar facts and circumstances. The Murthy Law Firm will continue to share helpful information with MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers on such significant developments to help you better plan related major life decisions.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.