A 500-day wait for the US visa in India: What’s going on?

People wishing to visit the US will have to wait for more than 500 days on average to get a visa appointment at US embassies across India. The surge in travellers, including those who had returned during the COVID-19 outbreak, is fueling a flood of visa applications leading to an unprecedented delay

FP Explainers August 19, 2022 14:25:53 IST
A 500-day wait for the US visa in India: What’s going on?

The waiting time for visitor visa in the US consulate at New Delhi is 582 calendar days and 471 days for student visas. PTI File

People wanting to visit the United States will have to wait a little longer, at least until 2024 to book a visitor visa appointment. As regular international flights have resumed after easing of COVID restrictions, many Indians are planning to make a trip abroad.

However, if one applies for a visa today they will likely get an appointment date at least 500 days later, at some point in 2024.

What is happening?

As per the US Department of State Travel.State.Gov website, the waiting time for visitor visa in the US consulate at New Delhi is 582 calendar days and 471 days for student visas. All other nonimmigrant visas will take up to 198 days before the applicant is called in for an appointment.

In Mumbai, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 580 calendar days for a visitor visa and 12 days for a student visa.

In Hyderabad, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 510 Calendar days for a visitor visa and 471 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 estimated wait time to receive an interview appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate can change weekly and is based on actual incoming workload and staffing. These are estimates only and do not guarantee the availability of an appointment," the visa page on the website said.

How the US Embassy has responded

Responding to the reports about visa appointment delays, the US embassy said that the Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the US for both immigrant and non-immigrant travellers.

"The US government is taking steps to reduce wait times and backlogs by actively addressing consular staffing gaps created by the pandemic, including by onboarding and training new employees. The Department of State has doubled consular hiring of US officers this fiscal year over last year, and newly trained employees are making their way to overseas consular adjudicator positions, including in India," the embassy spokesperson said in a statement.

"Visa processing is rebounding after a near-complete shutdown and freezing of resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this recovery, the US government is prioritising national-interest and repeat travel (for applicants who have already had a US visa), which may mean that some travelers applying for their first visitor visa experience a longer wait time," the statement further said.

Are other countries facing the same situation?

It’s not only the US that has a long waiting period for visa appointment, application and processing are taking a long time for other countries like the UK, Schengen states, and Canada.

As per the Government of Canada website, Canada currently has a waiting time of 158 days for visitor visas.

The website also says, “This processing time does not include the time it takes to send an application between a visa application centre and our office and the time you need to give your biometrics."

According to LiveMint, visa processing time in the UK has risen to four to ten weeks while Germany has stopped taking permanent stay visas.

The Danish Embassy in India had also announced a temporary suspension of application for short-stay visas and residence permits on 30 May this year. It reopened the process in July.

The UK High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis also apologised on Twitter for visa delays. In the video message on Twitter, he said, “Most of you are getting visas to go to the UK within 15 working days, but there is a long tail of complex cases which are taking much longer. "

He further explained why the delays were happening, “First, because of the unprecedented surge in demand for UK visas post-Covid. Secondly, because of global events, particularly the Russian invasion of Ukraine."

With inputs from agencies

Read all the Latest News, Trending NewsCricket News, Bollywood News,
India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Updated Date:

also read

More than 20,000 new hires left Apple supplier Foxconn's plant in China
World

More than 20,000 new hires left Apple supplier Foxconn's plant in China

The workers are leaving the plant in Zhengzhou in the wake of bloody clashes with police, in which more than a dozen protesters were hurt, furious about Foxconn's failure to deliver promised bonuses

China COVID-19: People intensify protest against stringent lockdowns as govt tries to tackle sharp rise in cases
World

China COVID-19: People intensify protest against stringent lockdowns as govt tries to tackle sharp rise in cases

Chinese social media and Twitter have many videos of public protests, including a mass demonstration in Shanghai where people in a rare display of anger shouted slogans against the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and President Xi Jinping

WATCH: Chinese citizens protest against Zero Covid policy, clash with police in Guangzhou
World

WATCH: Chinese citizens protest against Zero Covid policy, clash with police in Guangzhou

Even as China is ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government has chosen to deal with the crisis with a series of stringent methods, including a rather harsh lockdown, as part of its Zero Covid policy