Delay in processing visas for those who are heading back to the United States from Tamil Nadu have put several jobs and personal lives at stake. “I have been waiting for over six weeks now for my visa to be processed. My office has been following up on when I would get back to work. I also had to reschedule my flight several times and I ended up losing thousands of dollars each time,” said Muthukumar (name changed) who works for a tech firm in the U.S.
Shyam Sundar (name changed), who works in a fin-tech firm said that he and his wife were stuck in India and were at the risk of losing their jobs. “Our vacation is over and its been 5 weeks and we still haven’t got our passports back. Our children need to go to school. Many of our friends are also facing similar situation and we request the U.S. Consulate to process it soon,” he added.
Several applicants have posted their grievances on social media platforms and said: “Please improve Chennai drop box processing times, it is becoming unmanageable and tortuous.” and “We humbly request you to release more dropbox slots for 2022 Q4 to clear the massive backlog for H1B - first time and for extensions/renewal.”
When contacted, a spokesperson for the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, said, “I am unable to address anecdotal stories about individual visa cases, but what I can tell you is that consular staff at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai continue to work tirelessly to address visa backlogs caused by over two years of the global COVID-19 pandemic.” The spokesperson explained that the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai has already made significant progress in tackling visa backlogs due to the pandemic.
“We continue to prioritise visas for temporary workers (H/L), crew members (C1/D), and students (F/M/J). Consular sections across the U.S. Mission to India will process approximately 300,000 H and L visa applications this year,” the spokesperson said and added at present, “we are at capacity for petition-based employment visa (H and individual L) walk-in and interview waiver or “drop box” appointments through July 2022. Additional slots for August, September, and beyond will be opened in the coming weeks”. The spokesperson also said that in September 2022 all of U.S. Mission to India’s consular sections will begin interviewing business and tourism B1/B2 first-time applicants again after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.