Indians will have to wait until 2024 for making an effective visa appointment before travelling to the United States of America.
A recent update carried on a website of the US Department displayed this information, stating, “People from India will have to wait for around one-and-a-half years to travel to the United States.”
As per the rules, the average wait for a visitor visa appointment in the US consulate based in New Delhi is approximately 522 days and for a student visa, it’s around 471 days, whereas in Mumbai, the average wait is around 517 days for the visitor visa and nearly 10 days for the student visa.
“The longest appointment wait time is for a US visitor visa. However, once a passport is submitted there, the same is returned within 10 days. Those granted visas are given 10-year multiple entry at no extra cost. This is a big plus with the US,” asserted Anil Kalsi, Joint Secretary, Travel Agents Federation of India.
Moreover, the average wait for a US visa appointment in Chennai is 557 days and in Hyderabad, it is 518 days. For certain territories, basically the Schengen states, Canada and the UK, visa processing is much longer and tighter.
“Sweden is among the rare countries giving appointments. Similarly, one may get an appointment for September-end for Switzerland. VFS has a visa-at-home service for Austrian visas (for an extra charge),” Kalsi added.
The US Embassy highlighted that it is trying to reassess the scheduling of visas on priority-basis.
“The US Department of State is committed to facilitating legitimate travel to the US… (It) is reducing appointment wait times in all visa classes as quickly as possible, worldwide. Visa processing is rebounding after a near-complete shutdown and freezing of resources during the Covid-19 pandemic,” as stated by the spokesperson from the US embassy.
The main reason behind this delay is the post-COVID world order. During the pandemic, the foreign missions had sent their staff back home and the manpower is yet to be ramped-up.
According to the official sources, the number of applications has compounded to over 4 lakhs.