Slow Visa Approvals Continue to Pose Difficulties for Students and Travelers

    Updated on: 11 Aug 2022


    It seems the dream of studying abroad is taking a good amount of time.

    Around 4 lakh candidates wait eagerly for a US visa interview round slot. More than 2.4 million Canadian visas are on hold, while Indian students are the most affected, with more than 7,00,000 pending applications. Generally, the UK requires at least 6 weeks for visa processing. Countries such as France and Iceland, on the other hand, have no appointment slots available.

    According to VFS (Visa Facilitation Services Global), approximately 25,000 applications for tourist visas are received every day, with demand for student visas expected to peak in August.

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    The Different Situations in Visa Processing

    THE USA

    The US embassy declared in September that they would resume visa appointments individually, but in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, the slots got fully booked till April 2023. As of July 2022, 409,645 eligible applicants were waiting for an interview date, according to the US official backlogs report. The average number of applicants waiting for interviews in 2019 was 60,866 per month.

    According to the National Visa Centre (NVC), 433,819 visa applications have been submitted with completed documents and are ready for an interview as of June 30. Around 24,174 applicants have completed the application process and are expected to be interviewed in July 2022.

    62,000 Indian students received visas last year.

    The US embassy invited 1 lakh appointments for student visas this year. However, they are unable to complete the process early, resulting in students missing their academic semesters.

    Canada

    The conditions in Canada are worsening day by day, with more than 2.4 million visa applications on hold globally, India is the most affected country, with 7,00,000 pending applications. Canada plans to invest around $65.17 million to hire staff and reduce the application inventory. It is also expected that a team from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will travel to India soon to resolve issues related to delays.

    The UK

    Typically, 95% of non-settlement visa applications are decided within three weeks, 98% within six weeks, and 100% within 12 weeks. 

    But this time, the wait time has increased drastically.

    An applicant who chooses the "priority service" at the time of the visa application can expect a decision within five working days of the appointment, according to the UK visa and immigration website.

    By paying £800 for a super-priority visa, you can get the decision on your visa by the end of the next day. The visa processing, however, takes much longer in India due to the high volume of visa applications combined with limited appointment availability. It currently takes six weeks for visa applications to be processed. The processing time for work visas has routinely exceeded six weeks, while the processing time for family settlement applications increased to 24 weeks from 12 weeks.

    A passport return will cost Rs 3,500 if your travel plans are disrupted by a delay, according to Anil Haribal of Travel Forte.

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    Schengen Visas

    Before the date of travel, you can apply for a Schengen visa for up to six months. SchengenVisaInfo.com reports that those who have not yet applied will find it difficult to find available appointments until mid-September. There may be a few slots available for August among the 26 Schengen Area countries.

    Nevertheless, most of them are not available until September. In the meantime, as a result of the high demand, people who haven't yet applied will probably be unable to find an appointment before mid-September. There may be some slots available in a couple of the 26 Schengen Area countries in August. However, most of them do not have any appointments until September.

    Due to the limited number of visas that embassies can issue, they are also unable to meet the high demand. The Daily Record reports that Spain may ask travellers to prove they have enough money for their trip in addition to visa chaos. As of now, the policy has not yet taken effect.

    Ireland

    The estimated number of days required for visa processing, according to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, is:

    • 10 days for business, conference, or event purposes 
    • 10 days for employment-related work 
    • 20 days for study-related purposes

    In this whole process, the time required for visa appointments and passport pickups is not included. It is strictly advisable for applicants to apply on time with all the required documentation to avoid last-minute delays.

    Greece

    The Greek embassy faced some temporary problems while processing visa applications. As of now, the problem has been solved, and applicants can now apply again and expect their visa applications to be completed within 15 working days.

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    DIfferent Type of Visas

    • Student Visas: Due to delays in visa processing, many Indian students won't be able to attend the academic session in foreign universities. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) decided to contact the ambassadors of countries like Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, New Zealand, Poland, the UK, and the USA and requested them to fast-track the process.
    • Visa-free or E-visa Travel Options: Indians are shifting their choice of visiting Europe and are looking for alternative options due to the long wait for tourist visas. In today's time, short-haul and e-visa are in vogue among travelers. It is advisable to apply for a visa in advance when planning to travel to European countries.
    • Visa-Free Countries: For Indian citizens, countries like Bhutan, Nepal, and Indonesia, do not require a visa to travel. 

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