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Backlog pushes US Visa interview wait time upto 500 days; Students, travellers face brunt

Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Aug 19: Are you planning a trip to the US? But what if the visa appointment date comes next year. Yes, Indians will have to wait until 2024 to successfully book a visitor visa appointment.

A backlog of applications at the US Embassy has increased the waiting time for fresh applicants to an average of about one-and-a-half years.

Backlog pushes US Visa interview wait times upto 500 days; Students, travellers face brunt

The longer wait time has come as a blow, especially for students seeking Visas to the US for higher studies. Even if they apply for student Visa now, the earliest they can get an appointment is March-April 2024.

According to the US State Department website, the average wait time for a Visa appointment at the US Consulate in New Delhi is 471 days for student Visas and 582 days for visitor Visas.

In Mumbai, the average wait time is 517 days for a visitor Visa, but 10 days for a student Visa. The average wait time in Hyderabad for is 518 days for a visitor Visa and 479 days for a student Visa.

117 Chinese nationals deported between 2019 to 2021 for visa violation: Centre117 Chinese nationals deported between 2019 to 2021 for visa violation: Centre

In Kolkata, the average wait time for a visitor Visa is 587 days, but two 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.

Apart from the US, visa application and processing are taking a long time for other countries like UK, Schengen states, Canada etc.

Reacting to the reports about 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.

The State Department, meanwhile, said that consular sections overseas may be able to expedite the applicant's interview date "if there is an urgent, unforeseen situation such as a funeral, medical emergency, or school start date".

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