A trip to the US or even Europe is always on everyone’s mind. Be it for work, studying or even just to unwind, Indians eye trips abroad more than we think. But are you among those who have been hearing about the excruciatingly long waits to get visa? you’re not alone. According to the US Department of State travel Travel.State.Gov website, the average wait for a visa appointment in the US consulate at New Delhi is 522 days for visitor visas and 471 days for student visas. In Mumbai too, the average wait time for a US visa appointment is 517 days for a visitor visa and 10 days for a student visa.
According to Moneycontrol, the number of applicants waiting for a US visa interview slot has now topped 4 lakhs. The story is no different for places like Canada that is seeing a backlog of over 20 lakhs. Schengen visa too is seeing delays with huge visa waiting time for travel to UK. ‘There are no slots for visa appointments for countries including France and Iceland,’ reports Moneycontrol.
According to The Times of India, the US embassy is working on cutting waiting time. An official who spoke to TOI said, “attempts are being made to cut the waiting period by increasing consular staffs and prioritising certain types of visas.” The official attributed the delays to the Covid pandemic recovery. Other embassies too acknowledged the long wait time, but said the spike in applications is proportional to the number of visas granted post the pandemic. “In spite of the pandemic, the Canadian government welcomed over 4 lakh new permanent residents in 2021 of which 32% were Indians,” a Canadian high commission spokesperson was quoted as saying.
While countries are coping with the post pandemic surge in travel, people are opting for alternative travel plans, but those depending on their visa to select countries like students remain the worst affected.