Indian visa applicants require a waiting time of more than two years just to get an appointment, a US government website showed, while the time frame is just two days for countries like China.
There is an appointment wait time of 833 days for applications from Delhi and 848 days from Mumbai for visitor visas, the US State Department website shows. By contrast, the wait time is only two days. for Beijing and 450 days for Islamabad.
For student visas, the waiting time is 430 days for Delhi and Mumbai. Surprisingly, it is only one day for Islamabad and two for Beijing.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the US, yesterday raised the issue of the backlog of visa applications with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The top US diplomat said he is “extremely sensitive” to the issue and that they are facing a similar situation around the world, a challenge arising due to Covid.
He said the United States has a plan to address the backlog of visa applications from India. “I think you’ll see it in the next couple of months, but it’s something we’re very focused on,” Blinken said.
The backlog is due to a reduction in staff handling the visa process due to fewer applications during the pandemic, the sources said. A spike in student and tourist visa applications during the post-Covid period caused a backlog as they were understaffed, they explained.
While the US Mission in India remained open for most of the pandemic, the number of applicants that could be accommodated per day was limited by local limitations, including lockdowns and social distancing requirements, he said. Chris Elms, US Embassy spokesman
He said processing has resumed for all categories of immigrant and non-immigrant visas, for both new and returning applicants.
“By prioritizing students this summer to ensure they got to school on time, we were able to issue a record over 82,000 student visas. As a result, more Indian students are heading to the US this year than ever before.” any other country,” he said. he said she.
The US State Department has made aggressive plans to increase the staffing of all Mission India posts to their highest levels, the official said.
New officers are being recruited and trained, and consular facilities are being upgraded, while a new expanded facility in Hyderabad will open in the coming months, he said.
“Consular Team India is also making use of new authorities that increase processing efficiency, including expanded interview waiver authority for previously issued applicants. In practice, this means there are still tens of thousands of appointments to open between now and the “next available date” currently displayed in the system,” Elms said.
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