Indians wanting to visit the U.S., may have a long wait ahead of them as appointment slots for visas are not available anytime sooner than 2024. You heard that right — almost a two-year wait for visa appointments!

A backlog of visa applications at the U.S. embassy coupled with consular staffing gaps created by the pandemic have led to the increased waiting time.

Skift accessed the website of the U.S. State Department on Thursday and discovered that the average wait time for visa appointments for a tourist visa was around 1.5 years across all five consulates in India.

At the consulate’s New Delhi and Hyderabad offices the waiting time for a tourist visa appointent was more than 600 days while the wait for a student visa appointment was 458 days for both cities.

In Mumbai and Kolkata the visitor visa waiting period is a little under 600 days, while the waiting period would be more than 450 days for those seeking student visa appontment from these cities.

The tourist visa appointment wait was the shortest in Chennai — 491 days, while for student visa applicants the wait time was 465 days.

And if that wasn’t enough the website went on to note that while the estimated wait time for an interview appointment can change weekly, the estimates do not guarantee the availability of an appointment.

An earlier Skift interview had noted how the time being taken to process visas is creating a problem for travel agents and tour operators.

The U.S. embassy in India in a statement noted that efforts are being made to reduce wait times and backlogs by onboarding and training new employees. “The U.S. State Department has doubled consular hiring of US officers this fiscal year over last year, and newly trained employees are making their way to overseas consular adjudicator positions, including in India,” read the statement.

Tags: asia monthly, india outbound, student travel, tourism, visas