Hyderabad: US student visa applicants are in dilemma as the appointment wait time at Hyderabad Consulate General climbed to nearly one year.
Though the appointment wait times for other types of US visas are dropping significantly, the wait times for student visa has climbed from 37 days in November 2022 to 331 days now.
Even for the ‘Interview Waiver Students/Exchange Visitors’ visa type, the wait time has climbed up from one to 64 days.
Reasons behind US student visa appointment wait times rise at Hyderabad Consulate
In US universities, there are three intakes i.e., Fall (September intake), Winter (January intake), and Spring (May intake).
As students who got admissions into US universities in Winter and Spring intakes are seeking appointments for student visas at Hyderabad Consulate, the wait times have gone up.
In other US consulates too, the wait times have climbed up. In Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, it is 104 days.
Steps taken to reduce wait times
To reduce US student visa appointment wait times, authorities have made more applicants eligible for interview waivers. Apart from it, dropbox cases are being sent abroad for adjudication.
Recently addressing the growing concern over the backlog of visa applications from countries like India, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that he certainly understands the frustrations of those who have to wait for a long time.
“Visa processing is recovering faster than projected and over the coming year, we expect to reach pre-pandemic processing levels,” Price said.
“I can tell you that it is a priority of the Secretary and of the Department to do everything we can to reduce that backlog and ultimately to reduce the wait times,” he said.
Dilemma push students to consider alternate options
Some of the students who were waiting for US visas have decided to move to other countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, etc.
There are both pull and push factors involved in students’ decisions. Long US visa appointment wait times are the push factor.
Some of the pull factors are low processing duration for UK student visas, no limit on working hours in Australia, etc.