US travel visa: Appointment dates getting stretched to 2024; check waiting time in your cities here

The average wait time for a visitor visa is over 500 days, which is close to a year and a half, which means that if you apply for a visa this month, your appointment date is expected to be in 2024.

According to the U.S. Department of State’s Travel.State.Gov website, the U.S. Consulate in New Delhi has an appointment time of 582 calendar days for visitor visas and 471 days for student visas. In Mumbai, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 517 calendar days for a visitor visa and 10 days for a student visa. In Hyderabad, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 518 calendar days for a visitor visa and 479 days for a student visa. In Kolkata, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 587 calendar days for a visitor visa and 2 days for a student visa. In Chennai, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 513 calendar days for a visitor visa and 8 days for a student visa.

The two-year lockdown of U.S. consulates around the world caused by the pandemic has halted visa services, David Beer, deputy director of immigration policy at the libertarian Cato Institute, told VOA News.

“They just stopped working during COVID. That created what we’re seeing now, which is a wait of over a year, a huge backlog and all the problems associated with that,” he told VOA. While wait times vary widely across consulates, Bill said, “It’s the worst it’s been since 9/11.”

According to the TOI report, in addition to the United States, visa applications and processing for other countries such as the United Kingdom, Schengen countries, Canada, etc. take a long time.

Anil Kalsi, joint secretary of the Federation of Indian Travel Agents, told TOI that European embassies did not even make an appointment for a visa. “Sweden is one of the few countries that has given an appointment. Likewise, a person might make an appointment in Switzerland at the end of September. VFS offers at-home visa services (for an additional fee) for Austrian visas,” he was quoted as saying

For example, UK visa processing times have increased to four to ten weeks. Germany has stopped accepting permanent residence visas.

Earlier on May 30, 2022, the Danish Embassy in India announced the suspension of applications for short-term residence visas and residence permits, which will reopen on July 6.

Meanwhile, the UK will soon resume Priority Visa (PV) and Super Priority Visa (SPV) services for new applications under sponsored work routes and student visas.

The announcement was made on August 12 via the official Twitter account of the British High Commission in India. According to the statement, High Commission Large numbers of applicants are expected in the coming weeks and students are advised to start submitting applications as soon as possible as it may take some time to gather the necessary documents.

On the same day, the British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis Apologize for the massive delay Faced by those applying for a UK visa from India. In a video message on Twitter, he said: “Most of you will get visas to the UK within 15 working days, but the long tail of complex cases will take longer.”

He further apologized to those affected by the delay. He also explained why there were delays, saying: “First, because of the unprecedented surge in demand for UK visas after the pandemic. Second, because of global events, notably the Russian invasion of Ukraine.” He further added to the action plan, which brought more More resources, they are training more people and keep the priority visa service open.

He further advised, “Don’t commit to your ticket until you get your visa to be safe. We expect an unprecedented number of Indian students to come to the UK this year and we will do everything we can to ensure you get your visa on time. But again, Please follow the instructions in the letter.”

Recently, a spokesperson for visa promotion agency VFS Global told Live Mint, “With the opening of international borders and the resumption of flights to these countries, there has been an unprecedented increase in outbound travel demand. In addition, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many students and working Professionals have returned to India; they are planning to return to countries as they open up again. “As a result, we are experiencing a high volume of visa applications, coupled with limited appointments and long visa processing time schedules in India. “

On top of that, some counties have tightened visa issuance rules in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. Processing now involves more checks, for example, verifying vaccination certificates.

VFS Global suggested there was no immediate solution, “We have been urging visa clients to apply early to avoid last-minute rushes.” The agency also said they could not provide further details on visa processing timelines because “relevant information Provided by the respective client governments on their websites.

In June 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA) held discussions with Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States on simplifying student visas for Indian nationals.

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