Over a Year for Delhi & Mumbai. Chennai, it’s Only 29 Days for You

When the United States announced Tuesday the opening of interview slots for new visa applications after a two-year hiatus, the lengthy wait — over two years for some categories — confused students, professionals and visitors who had planned to travel to the country.

In comparison, the waiting time in Beijing was two days. Councilor for Consular Affairs Don Heflin cited high demand, staff shortages and pandemic-related disruptions as reasons for the ongoing delay.

Addressing the delay concerns, Heflin said the embassy is working to increase its staff, adding that work visa categories H and L will have 1 lakh appointments opening in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar reportedly raised the issue with the US Secretary of State earlier this week, stating that India stands ready to offer any assistance needed to resolve the issue.

However, uncertainty remains about the long wait times – which vary by category and state – and when and how the issue will be resolved. News18 has dug deep into the topic to answer any questions you may have about the wait time and its implications. Continue reading.

IS THE WAITING PERIOD FOR EVERY TWO YEARS?

The waiting time for the visa appointments varies depending on the city and category. While the waiting time for visitor visas is 833 days in New Delhi and 848 days in Mumbai, student and exchange visitor visa applications have a waiting time of 430 days in New Delhi and 430 days in Mumbai. Meanwhile, other nonimmigrant visa applicants must wait 392 days for appointments money control. At the same time, Chennai has a much shorter waiting time for student/exchange visas, only 29 days. mint reported.

The waiting times in Beijing and Islamabad are one to two days for student visas. For a Canada visa, the waiting time for an Indian applicant applying for a student visa is 13 weeks and there is not much difference between the waiting times for Indian and Pakistani applicants mint.

There are exceptions for emergencies where the waiting time can be reduced. This includes a medical issue that can only be treated in the US, a family accident, or a business trip benefiting a US company money control. For student visas and renewal cases, the embassy can even waive the requirements for face-to-face interviews.

Also Read :  Oyo Looks to Finally Go Public Early Next Year: Sources

WHY THE DELAY?

The US State Department says the estimated wait time to get an interview at a US embassy is based on the incoming workload and staffing levels. Delays have been exacerbated due to high demand in India and pandemic-related disruptions. “Waiting times remain significant due to high demand,” the US Embassy in India tweeted.

Councilor for Consular Affairs, Don Heflin, explained the long waiting time and referred to the understaffing in the visa centers. “I know some of you have real concerns about wait times. I’ll be honest with you. There is a long wait. The good news is our recovery from Covid and after the pandemic the staffing issue will be resolved. At the height of Covid and for a while after that, we were only around 50 percent [staff] in the visa consulates,” he said.

WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT THE PROBLEM?

Heflin said that in less than a year, staff at US consulates will return to pre-Covid levels, and temporary staffing and drop boxes would be set up to reduce long waits Indian times reported.

He also said that for the H and L work visa categories, 1 lakh appointments will be opened in the next few weeks. Heflin said at the peak of the pandemic, U.S. consulates and embassies had about 50 percent of (visa staff) than normal and currently 70 percent staff is available. He said 100 percent staffing will be reached around this time next year or a little earlier, by which time embassies and consulates will have the manpower to handle the volume of applications.

Meanwhile, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar raised the matter with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, adding that India stands ready to cooperate with the US in any way possible to help resolve the issue, as reported win.

“I recommended [to] US Secretary of State Blinken said that if there was anything the Indian government could do to help the US government better address this issue, we would be very open to it. But this is an issue where it is mainly up to the US, we will support them,” he told reporters.

Also Read :  Delhi court refuses Robert Vadra's medical emergency stay in UAE, asks why his FD should not be forfeited

“In India there are families who cannot meet, students who wait a long time. So it’s a serious problem. But I am confident, with the sincerity Blinken has shown, I hope they will address this and with any support we can offer, we hope things will improve,” added Jaishankar.

Blinken attributed the problem to Covid and said he was “extremely sensitive” to the issue. “It’s largely a product of the pandemic. Our ability to issue visas has dropped dramatically during Covid. This is a self-funding part of the State Department… When Covid hit, demand for visas fell… the system as a whole suffered,” he was quoted as saying in a win Report.

WHY IS THE DEMAND SO HIGH?

According to a 2021 UN report, India has one of the highest diaspora populations in the world, with 18 million Indians living outside the country in 2020. Of these, 2.7 million live in the United States.

The American Dream has long been a calling for workers, professionals and students in India. Indians now make up a large portion of recipients of H-1B and other work visas granted by the US government to qualified foreign workers, many in the technology industry. money control said. The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized jobs that require theoretical or technical expertise.

The USA is also a preferred destination for Indian students. The United States issued a record 82,000 student visas to Indians in 2022, more than any other country, the US Embassy in India said in early September.

Also Read :  Kuwaiti-funded schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon start their 10th academic year

Commenting on the high number of visas issued, Patricia Lacina, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in India, said: “This shows that the United States remains the most desirable country for higher education for most Indian families,” said Patricia Lacina times now.

WHICH OTHER COUNTRIES ARE POPULAR WITH INDIANS?

The UAE had the highest number of Indian migrants in 2020, at 3.5 million, according to the UN report. The UAE became the third largest host of Indian emigrants in 2005 after the US and Pakistan. However, between 1990 and 2020 its proportion of the Indian population grew by 657 percent and as of 2010 hosts the largest proportion of Indian emigrants. The Hindu business line reported.

Currently, India-UAE is the world’s third largest country-to-country corridor for international migration, after Mexico-USA and the Syria-Turkey corridor. Saudi Arabia is also a preferred destination, with the third largest Indian migrant population at 25 lakhs. While Pakistan was also a popular destination between 1990 and 2005, the number has been steadily declining with a population of 16 lakh in 2020.

Indian students prefer Canada as an alternative to the US, with News18.com Reporting in 2021 that more Indians are applying to Canada due to US outdated immigration policies. Immigration and policy experts have testified before a panel of US lawmakers that the quota per country for issuing green cards is driving Indian talent out of the United States, the report said.

In Canada and other countries like New Zealand, more and more students are applying there due to lucrative job opportunities, lower tuition fees and easier application processes. In 2019, Indians were the largest group by “country of origin” granted express entry and other categories of qualifying immigrant visas to Canada.

In 2022, Canada absorbed 108,000 Indians in the first quarter economic timesmaking them the leading immigrant group to settle in the country.

Read all Latest News India and Breaking News here