Visa Nightmare: Delays, Few Interview Slots, Student Visa Rush

| Updated: July 30, 2022 5:08 pm

The worst visa nightmare of Indian travellers is coming true. Currently, four lakh US visa applicants are waiting for an interview window. A staggering 2.4 million Canadian visas are still pending in other countries. India is among the countries bearing severe impacts, with almost 700,000 applications.

The visa-processing time is six weeks for the UK. However, a few Schengen countries, including France and Iceland, have zero appointment slots available. VFS is receiving 25,000 applications every day for tourist visas and has predicted high demand for student visas in August.

The US Embassy had recently declared the resumption of in-person visa appointments from September. But the slots are full till April 2023 in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.

According to US official BackLog report, eligible applicants still awaiting an interview date after the July 2022 appointment is 409,645. By comparison, in 2019, on average, 60,866 applicants postponed an interview each month.

The number of Visa applicants whose documents are complete, submitted at the National Visa Center (NVC) and ready for an interview as of June 30 is 433,819. The number of documentary applicants scheduled for July 2022 interview appointments is 24,174.

Last year, the US issued visas to a record 62,000 Indian students. This year, the Embassy has opened 100,000 appointments for student visas. However, delays are mounting, and students are missing their academic semesters.

Canada plans to infuse US$65.16 million to reduce the application inventory and hire more staff. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Team will travel to India soon to try and resolve delay issues.

In normal circumstances for non-settlement visa applications given outside the UK, 90% pass within three weeks, 98% within six weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date. But in 2022, the wait time has extended.

According to the UK visa and immigration website, at the time of the visa application, if an applicant chooses the priority service, they will decide within five working days of appointment. Under Super Priority Visa, you can pay £800 in addition to the application fee and get a decision by the end of the next working day.

However, visa processing for the UK takes much longer in India due to high volumes of visa applications coupled with limited appointment availability and stretched visa processing. The current standard processing time for visit visa applications is six weeks. Work Visas take more than six weeks. Family settlement applications have a processing time of 24 weeks (previously 12 weeks).

“If your travel plans disrupt due to delay and you want the passport back, you will have to pay Rs 3,500 for passport return,” said Anil Haribal of Travel Forte.

Read More: Ahmedabad: Police Uncovers Canada Visa Scam Worth ₹5 Cr, Makes Arrests

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