US, UK and Schengen visas: what is the waiting time?

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Nearly years into the pandemic, embassies are struggling to provide visas to visitors and students on time. The wait time for US visas has increased by more than a year, which means you could get your US visa in March or April 2024. Some Schengen countries do not have slots available for appointment. The British government has advised Indians to buy a ticket only after receiving their visa. Here’s how long it could take you to get your visa.

US Visa

Earlier in February, when the US visa slots opened, the wait time for new US visa applications was until 2023. Today, the average wait time for a US visa in India is increased to a year and a half, according to the US State Department website. This means that if you apply now, you could receive your visa in March-April 2024.

When we checked on Thursday afternoon, the New Delhi visitor visa waiting time was 582 calendar days and 471 days for student visas. In Mumbai, it was 580 calendar days for a tourist visa and 12 days for a student visa. In Kolkata, the waiting time for a visa appointment was 587 days and 2 days for a student visa, while in Chennai it was 513 calendar days and 8 days for a student visa. In Hyderabad, you will have to wait 510 calendar days for a visitor visa and 471 days for a student visa.

British visa

According to the official UK website, visitor visas, including standard visitor visas, take approximately 7 weeks to process. “We are working hard to process applications to return to a 3 week standard,” the website says. However, the embassy is facing unprecedented visa delays. Therefore, visitors were advised to purchase their tickets only after receiving their visa. The UK is also receiving an unprecedented number of student visa applications this year. The British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said they were doing everything possible to ensure these students got their visas on time. The UK High Commission in Delhi tweeted on Saturday that it had also opened up priority and super priority visas for students.

Schengen area visa

Several Schengen countries currently have no slots available for appointments. When we checked on the VFS website on Thursday morning, Italy had no slots available in Mumbai or Bengaluru. The first available slot for the country is in Delhi on August 29. Switzerland has slots open at the end of September. Currently, Sweden has appointments as early as next week. For France, the first date available in Mumbai and Delhi is September 28, while in Bangalore no slot is available. Spain have fixtures available in Mumbai from August 24.

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