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Delays in Visa applications from India to USA and Canada

July 2022

Visa issuance for Indian citizens is currently subject to long days at US and Canadian consulates in India.  While COVID-19 disrupted the process in the years 2020 and 2021 relief was expected in 2021.  However, due to staffing delays and a huge backlog of applications, thousands of travelers and students and impacted.

Recently, the U.S.  Embassy in India announced that they will resume processing of routine in-person B1/B2 visas appointments starting in September 2022 at various consulates in India. Thousands of parents and tourists traveling for the first time (or if their old visas had expired) will now have an opportunity to get their visas.  However, it is too late for a summer visit and may have to postpone their eventual trip to 2023 Spring or later.

No in-person interviews for some visa categories: 
The Department of State has authorized consular officers to waive the in-person interview requirement for certain categories of visa applicants through 31 December 2022. This new authorization applies to travelers applying for F, H-1, H-3, H-4, non-blanket L, M, O, P, Q, and academic J visas who were previously issued any type of visa, if they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence. This authorization does not apply to applicants who have a previous refusal that was not subsequently waived or overcome. Adjudicating consular officers may request an in-person interview if additional information is required from applicants.

Applicants renewing any visa within 48 months of expiration also continue to be eligible for interview waiver.

The announcement further states that due to reduced staffing and numerous pandemic-related disruptions to our operations since March 2020, appointment demand is high across all visa categories and wait times may be lengthy for most routine nonimmigrant visa appointments at the U.S. Embassy New Delhi and the consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

Students having difficulty too
Many students who were earlier refused visas are now in a bind.  Only new applicants are given priority for visa dates.  US Government has announced that previously rejected applications will now be reconsidered only in late August 2022.  This does not allow enough time for the students to make it for the Fall semester.  Now they have to go through the process of tests and applications to secure a new I20 from the Universities for the next semester.  More money to spend and distress.  It should be noted that foreign students bring in a ton of revenue for US universities. Hope that the US Government recognizes the economic value these students bring to America and fixes the problems.

Canadian visas
There have been numerous reports of long delays and rejections in Canadian Visas for Indian citizens.  While staffing shortages are cited as the main reason it also appears that Canada is not fully ready to reopen after the pandemic.

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