Countries like the US, UK, Europe and Canada are taking longer to process the huge influx of visa applications. Even after planning an international trip well ahead of time, travellers are waiting for their visas to get cleared up until the eleventh hour.
Ever since the pandemic forced us to stay indoors, most of us wished to go on a getaway to different places, explore the beauty of nature and get refreshed. For those who saved and opted for an international trip after travel opened up, the delay in visa processing is a hassle.
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Longer than usual delays
Countries like the US, UK, Europe and Canada are taking longer than usual to process the huge influx of applications, with the skeleton manpower and increased restrictions. Even after planning the international trip well ahead of time, travellers are waiting for their visas to get cleared and delivered until the eleventh hour. These delays are resulting in a chain reaction of events that result in huge losses for middle class and affluent travellers alike.
Pre dated booking and late visas
Most international travel agencies, hotels and flights require booking at least 90 days in advance and payment in full from the travellers. Hoping for the best, people make the reservations and wait till the last moment to get the visa. Even after clearing the visa interview, applicants have to wait 4-6 weeks or more, sometimes even missing their travel date. This leaves an abysmal situation for the travellers as not only are their tickets fully paid for, they are also penalised with a huge cancellation fee. For families and large groups spending 1.5-3 lakhs per person, this certainly is an additional cost, adding insult to injury.
No updates from embassies
The embassies do not let out an update or inform progress of the applicants’ visa status, hindering the travellers in planning further. There have been instances of a whole family receiving their visa except one person, leaving an unpleasant situation for people expecting a happy trip. This case is more so for families who save up for a long time to go on an international trip.
Post dated visa appointments
With the holidays coming up and a long break for Diwali from October 22-31st, there is a surge in demand for European travel. However, some applicants have been informed that their Schengen visa appointments might take 3+ weeks to be scheduled. By then, the vacation itself would have passed.
Be proactive: Change your destination
In this scenario, being proactive is the way to go. Families who cannot postpone their date of travel have to opt for an alternate destination. Places that offer e-visas, like Turkey and those with on-arrival visas in Southeast Asia are preferable. Changing plans instead of incurring losses seems the wiser choice.
Business tour plans halted
The US embassy has requested that travellers make no irreversible travel plans, as processing business travel/tourist visas would take up to 247 days. This applies to all travellers and it is only safe to book stay and transportation only upon receiving the visa.
This situation will take time to change, but we can save our means by planning proactively and being flexible with our plan, thus ensuring a smooth and memorable trip!
(Edited by : Jerome Anthony)
First Published: IST