Are you planning a vacation out of the country? or eager to fly abroad to continue your education or career after two years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic!
If you answered yes, you should reconsider your plans because obtaining a Visa for the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and most European nations may take substantially longer.
The situation comes, as most of the countries have lifted the Covid-related travel restrictions and resumption of scheduled international flights, and a lot of Indian travellers are gearing up to travel abroad.
But, as previously stated, the majority of them are experiencing excessive delays in obtaining visas, particularly in some European countries.
- The visa processing time for the United Kingdom has increased to 4-10 weeks.
- Germany no longer accepts permanent residency visas.
- The Visa processing time for Greece and Spain can be as long as six to eight weeks.
- While the Denmark Embassy has temporarily suspended the applications for short-stay visas and resident cards.
Similarly, the US Embassy, which recently announced the resumption of in-person visa appointments for Tourist Visas and Visitor Visa B1, and B2 beginning in September, stated that slots in cities like Delhi and Mumbai are completely booked until April 2023.
Meanwhile, the British High Commission website states that tourist visa applications may take up to six weeks to process, whereas Canada Visa requires more than four months.
Reasons Behind Delays In Visa Processing!
The major reason behind the delay includes a shortage of embassy staff due to the coronavirus pandemic; a massive backlog of pending applications; a huge surge in demand for tourist visas, and tighter visa-granting protocols.
According to a VFS Global official;
“There has been an unprecedented uptick in outbound travel demand from India to many parts of the world this summer. Given the extremely high pent-up demand, this was expected with the opening of international borders, easing of travel restrictions and resumption of regular international flights from India in March 2022.”
The VFS Global is receiving around 20,000 visa applications per day from India, which is comparable to the level seen during the pre-pandemic peak season.
1. Huge Demand for Tourist Visas
With the return of scheduled flights to the UK, US, Europe and Canada and the opening of the international border, there has been an extraordinary increase in outbound travel demand. Furthermore, many students and working professionals had returned to India as a result of the COVID pandemic, and when countries open up again, they intend to return to those countries.
2. Shortage of Staff At Embassies
Following the COVID-19 incident, many embassies in India temporarily stopped their visa processing centres, and officials returned to their home countries. Now that these offices have reopened, embassies are having difficulty rehiring officials who previously worked for them.
Interestingly, both the Danish and German embassies have already posted job openings for these positions.
3. Stricter Rules For Visa
Following the COVID pandemic, some countries have tightened visa requirements. A few extra checks, such as the verification of vaccination certificates, are now part of the visa application processing.
What you can do to ensure you’re getting your visa on time?
There is nothing you can do if you have already applied for the Visa, but if you have not yet applied, experts suggest applying as soon as possible.
According to VFS, “Most countries accept visa applications up to three months in advance. According to the revised Schengen visa code, one can apply for a Schengen visa up to six months before the date of travel.“
If one is determined to travel on holidays, it is also advisable to consider other destinations such as Turkey, Egypt, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
If you want to visit a nation that doesn’t require a prior visa, we’ve compiled a list of 59 countries that will allow Indian passport holders to travel visa-free* in 2022.