Depending on their nationality, anyone wishing to enter the Schengen countries or the United States for any purpose is subject to a visa regime. But processing delays have increased, with a massive backlog of applications and appointments.
According to Economic period report on Tuesday, the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) said it would write to relevant embassies about the matter.
“We have spoken to VFS, embassies and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and it is becoming a huge challenge. We will officially write to all European countries about this,” said Jyoti Mayal, President of TAAI.
“We are learning that countries like Greece have not returned traveler passports for over two months. There is also a huge pending demand for the United States. The situation is getting worse, and it is the peak summer tourist season.
In May, Jay Bhatia, TAAI, vice president, said visas for Europe are being extended for up to a month as some Schengen embassies are not operating at full capacity.
VFS Global, which handles administrative and non-discretionary tasks related to the issuance of visas and passports, said it was experiencing a high volume of applications and stretched visa processing times from India.
The company receives approximately 20,000 applications per day from India and has sufficient staff to process, HEY report said quoting the company spokesperson.
The spokesperson said information on visa decision processing times is provided by client governments on their websites, the report adds.
According to the Schengen visa website, the first visa application filing is six months and the latest fifteen working days.
On May 30, the U.S. Embassy announced that it would resume routine in-person tourist visa appointments beginning in September.
“Applicants whose mock appointments have been canceled can now re-enter the scheduling system to book regular appointments. Appointments have been open through 2023,” the US Embassy tweeted.
Earlier, travel platforms said the issue had been reported to relevant European embassies and consulates, but discussions yielded no “concrete results”, according to the report. Companies are advising travelers to plan their vacations in advance to avoid last-minute visa disappointments.
“Travellers to the UK, US, Canada and other European countries are most affected. Regular tourist visas for countries like the UK take longer than 45 days. this country first and modify the routes accordingly. Embassies don’t admit openly, but lack of staff is the main problem here,” said Rajiv Mehra, president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators. HEY.