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US Embassy in Chennai

U S consulate in ChennaiThe relationship between America and Chennai has been long and strong. It all began in 1792, when a Massachusetts businessman named Benjamin Joy appointed by U.S President George Washington was sent to be the first American consulate in India.

However, the British colonial rulers refused his commission, and he remained in Calcutta as the American government’s commercial agent.

History of the US Embassy in Chennai:

Managing U.S. maritime interests in Madras from Calcutta proved difficult. Hence William Abbott was chosen as the first U.S. Consular agent at Madras Presidency. Bilateral trade relations improved after several decades and subsequently a separate U.S. consular agency was formed in 1867.

A regularized consular service was set up in 1906 which included fixed office tenure, fixed salary, and system of office promotion as well as seven position classes which included consuls and consuls general. 

When India gained independence in August 1947, the bilateral relations were further consolidated with the American diplomatic post prevailing in Madras being raised to that of a Consulate General.  The Consulate General moved to Mount Road (now known as Anna Salai) in 1950.

With the improvement of Indo-US relations, the Consulate General needed a structure which could help a diversity of activities like educational exchange, visas, library services, American citizen services, cultural programming besides the promotion of trade. So it moved to a land on the Gemini Circle where it is currently situated.

Offices and Departments of the US Embassy:

For most of us who tend to think of the US embassies as only a visa processing centre, this will be an informative eye opener. The US Embassy in Chennai has a number of offices and departments to undertake its work. They are:

  • Consular Section- It facilitates travel between India and the United States.

  • Management Section – It gives logistical, administrative, and managerial support to the other sections including all the employees of the US embassy in Chennai.

  • Political/Economic Section- It reports and analyses the economic and political developments of South India supporting a population of around 250 million.

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - This is situated within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). This federal agency is responsible for the health and safety of people within India and abroad.

  • Regional Security Office- The RSO is responsible for giving security to the people of the Consulate and protecting its information, helps to combat terrorism, advices Americans travelling abroad on safety issues and acts as a law enforcement arm for the U.S. Department of State.

  • U.S. Commercial Service- It provides service to U.S. businesses in exporting goods and services to India.

  • Public Affairs Section- It manages the public activities of the U.S. embassy in Chennai. It has two subsections; the Cultural Affairs Office which organizes lectures, conferences, seminars etc. and the Information Office which responds to all media and press enquiries to American Consulate in Chennai.

Services by the US Embassy in Chennai:


One of the sought after service of the U.S. embassy in Chennai is the processing of immigrant (permanent relocation to U.S.) and non-immigrant visas (for people wishing to visit U.S. temporarily). Visa applicants need to complete required forms providing relevant information, pay visa fees and appear for personal interview. 

Book Fair going on at the US Consulate in ChennaiThe American Library

It is another useful unit of the U.S. embassy of Chennai. 

The library with an excellent collection of books on social sciences, American literature, management, also engages on the history, politics, and democratic institutions of the United States of America.

Many Book fairs are also organized at the American Library in Chennai.

Pursuing Education in the U.S.

The EducationUSA advising Centers advise thousands of aspiring students for higher studies to the United States.

Promoting Business

The Chennai U.S. embassy enables and promotes business in the U.S. and here in south India.

U.S. Citizen Services

This requires providing regular as well as emergency services to U.S. citizens on travel. Matters relating to stolen passport, financial emergencies, medical assistance, security or arrest of an American citizen are addressed here.

How to apply at U.S. Consulate in Chennai:

In order to apply, you must understand your visa category, i.e. which visa type most suits your purpose in traveling to the United States. 

For a non-immigrant visa, an appointment has to be made through phone (+91-120-6602222 or +91-22-67209400, and 1-310-616-5424) or through the website www.ustraveldocs.com/in

While creating a user account here, you must schedule TWO appointments, the first for photo and finger printing at an offsite center and the second for visa interview at the Chennai Consulate.

Important Documents to be brought at the time of interview:

  • Valid passport as well as previously issued passports.
  • VFS appointment letter
  • DS-160 confirmation page with barcode
  • For F, M students the SEVIS receipt and I-20 is compulsory
  • H, L and all other petition based visa applicants must bring I-129, I-797 and other petition related documents.
  • For J exchange visitors, the SEVIS receipt and DS-2019 is mandatory.
Since 1 January, 2012, the US Consulate General in Chennai have stopped processing Immigrant Visa petitions (which allows one to live permanently in US).

Contact Information of the US Consulate in Chennai:

U.S. Consulate General
Address: Address: Panchsheel Marg, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, Delhi 110021
Call:  011 2419 8000
Open between Monday to Friday 
From 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m
Excepting Indian and American holidays
& closed to the public on last Wednesday of the month

You can also find more about  Embassies in Chennai

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