Travel News

Terrible: The Waiting Time for US Tourist Visa Appointments is Now Over 900 DAYS For Some Places

Written by Charlie

For some locations, the waiting time for US tourist visa appointments has gotten even worse – to over 900 days for some cities!

I first wrote about this last month as I found it absurd that the US State Department had such insane waiting times for people trying to get visas (in other words, people trying to legally enter the US). I was far from the only one writing about it as major media outlets had been writing about it as well as slamming the US State Department for this. You would think it would improve – for some yes, for others, it is has gotten worse.

The Waiting Time for Visa Appointments Has Topped 900 Days in India

Link: Waiting Times for Visa Appointments for the US

While some places like Paris have improved (from 580 days to 182 days), every US post in India has gotten worse. Now, in New Delhi, instead of “only” having a waiting time of 894 days, it has now gone over 900 days to 914 days (Mumbai is 939 days!). And every location in India is the same.

This while a person trying for a visa appointment in China only has to wait 2 days. Likewise, people trying to make an appointment in Germany need to only wait 22 days (in Munich) while those trying to make an appointment in Athens need to wait 434 days (and this is down from 444 days last month).

But, if you are in Lithuania and you need an appointment in Vilnius, you have to wait only 1 day for an interview! Similar for those in Honduras applying in Tegucigalpa where the waiting time is only 2 days for an interview. But, if you are in nearby Guatemala, you are looking at a waiting time of 281 days for your interview. In other cities in Central America, it is also very bad.

Even in Dubai, people have to wait over 400 days.

Here is what I wrote in the previous post.

What Causes This Problem?

Of course, the blame for these insane waiting periods at US Embassies and Consulates all over the world has been placed on Covid. I know that these issuing points were shut down during much of the Covid shutdown but I still cannot believe some of these waiting periods.

I mean, let’s look at Athens again. Even though there is a temporary Consulate that opens every few months in Thessaloniki, the Embassy in Athens does not allow you to book far ahead for this. Rather, it opens the schedule for just 3 days of appointments and people try to grab what they can.

That means that all visa interviews are being handled out of one place in Greece – Athens. So, if you need a visitor visa, it will currently take 434 days for an interview. If you are a student, it is 15 days while all other nonimmigrant visas are currently standing at 45 days for interview appointments.

Let’s take a look at a huge country – China. You would think this may be backed up, right? Nope! The waiting time in Beijing is just 2 days for all visa appointments. Shanghai is worse at 22 days for a visitor visa, 4 days for a student visa, and 55 days for nonimmigrant visas.

But, back to India, here is what it looks like for Hyderabad – 405 days for a student visa and 804 days for a tourist visa.

That is horrible! It means that a student that needs a visa to attend a school in the US would have to wait well over 1 year just to get an appointment. If you want to plan a trip and need an appointment for your visa, start planning your trip for 3 years from now!

Check out this little tidbit from the US State Department: “Note: Travel for the purpose of attending weddings and graduation ceremonies, assisting pregnant relatives, participating in an annual business/academic/professional conference, or enjoying last-minute tourism does not qualify for expedited appointments. For such travel, please schedule a regular visa appointment well in advance.”

So, if you are in Madrid and you want to assist a pregnant relative in the US, the US suggests that you plan “well in advance” except their waiting period is 396 days so you may get there before the baby turns 1.

Something needs to be fixed at the State Department with these processing issues. Passports have been affected greatly as well, which is one of the things that makes their online renewal something exciting. I have often renewed our passports overseas and I can normally get them back in a week or two. Recently, it took over 5 weeks to get them back (and these are processed differently than those that are renewed in the US).

I mean, weeks for a passport is kind of embarrassing anyways when the country of Greece issues passports in 5 business days. Yes, I know it is a smaller country but they have also had shorter validity periods (which meant renewals happening more often) as well as it being an issue of scale – there are fewer Greek citizens but there are also fewer people working on passports. The US has a lot more people working on them.

Bottom Line

If you are someone with a foreign passport and your country is on a list that the US does not require a visa appointment for you, you can breathe a huge sigh of relief!

On the other hand, countries have shown in the past that they are up for reciprocity – in both good ways and bad. How long before countries decide that they are going to make Americans wait like America makes their citizens wait? Of course, that means not getting American dollars but if a country is serious about wanting their own citizens to get to a school in the US or something similar, who knows what they may do to make their point (but, at the same time, they may be relieved that their citizens will spend their own money at home than in America!).

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

3 Comments

  • In India – a country of 1.2 billion – you can get a passport renewed and new one issued in 1 -3 business days. The state department has serious work to do…

  • Of course wait times are low in China, most of the country remains in lockdown modes. People cant easily travel out of China and are staying home. India is open for business as usual and has historically a high demand for visas. Now the demand is soaring well above any pre-pandemic levels.

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