U.S. Indian Embassy Faces Over 500 Days of Waiting for Visa Appointments

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Indians applying for a US visa face an extremely long wait time for interviews.

People who plan to visit the United States are going to be shocked because they will have to wait until 2024 to obtain a visitor visa. NDTV checked the US State Department website and found that the average wait time was around a year and a half, which means those planning to apply now will get an appointment for March-April 2024. The website shows that the average wait for a visa appointment at the United States Consulate in New Delhi is 522 days for visitor visas and 471 days for student visas.

If the location is changed to Mumbai, the average waiting time for a US visa appointment is 517 days for a visitor visa and 10 days for a student visa, according to the website. The waiting time for all other non-immigrant visas is 198 days in Delhi and 72 days in Mumbai.

In the case of Chennai, the waiting time for a visitor visa is 557 days for a visitor visa and 185 days for all other non-immigrant visas. Those applying from Hyderabad will have to wait 518 days to obtain a visitor’s visa, according to the State Department’s website.

“The estimated wait time to receive an interview appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate may change weekly and is based on actual incoming workload and staff. estimates and do not guarantee the availability of an appointment,” the visa page on the website said.

Responding to reports of the delays, the US Embassy said the State Department is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the United States for immigrant and non-immigrant travelers. “The U.S. government is taking steps to reduce wait times and backlogs by actively addressing consular staffing shortages created by the pandemic, including onboarding and training new employees. The Department of State has doubled the hiring consular officers this fiscal year compared to last year, and newly trained employees are heading to consular arbitrator positions overseas, including in India,” the spokesperson said. from the embassy in a statement.

“Visa processing is rebounding from a near complete shutdown and resource freeze during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this resumption, the U.S. government is prioritizing national interest and repeat travel (for applicants who have previously had a U.S. visa), which may mean that some travelers applying for their first visitor visa experience longer wait times,” the statement said.

The State Department, meanwhile, said consular sections abroad may be able to expedite the applicant’s interview date “if there is an urgent and unforeseen situation such as a funeral, a medical emergency or the date of the start of the school year”.

VFS Global, a visa facilitation agency, said there had been an unprecedented increase in visa application volumes in India and the final decision rests with the respective embassies. “VFS Global has maintained its standard processing time within one business day for dispatch to the respective embassies… Decisions on visa applications and processing times are at the sole discretion of the respective embassies/consulates,” said a VFS Global spokesperson said in a statement.

Previously, there were reports that visa processing was taking longer for Schengen states, Canada and the UK as well.

The delay in the approval of visas by the Canadian authorities worries many people, especially in Punjab. Neetu Yadav, whose brother had applied for admission to a university in Canada, told NDTV that the academic session starts in September, but there is no update on the visa status yet.

“My brother had applied for a student visa for a course starting next month and we don’t have a visa yet. ‘there is no guarantee if my brother will get a place in the next session,” she said.

According to a report by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, 41% of study permit applications from India were rejected in 2021.

Canada has a backlog of over 2.4 million immigration applications to date. Canada’s Immigration Minister, Minister Sean Fraser, has assured in statements that they are hiring new people to eliminate these backlogs. The Canadian government has also stated that there is no discrimination against Indian students.

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