Ahmedabad: With Covid on decline, Gujaratis, like most Indians, are busy making revenge travel plans. However, people headed to the US, which has one of the largest Gujarati diaspora, are forced to cool their heels waiting for the elusive appointment date for interview for visitor visa to Uncle Sam’s land!
Desperation is writ large on the faces of Ahmedabad residents Bhavesh Vora (55) and his wife Seema Vora (50), who have been waiting in vain for more than two years to go to the US and meet their daughter who had left for higher education in Detroit. The couple first got their visa interview dates on March 27, 2020 to attend their daughter’s convocation but the appointment was cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown. While the parents missed the convocation ceremony, their daughter Juhi has now got a job. The family is desperately awaiting a reunion.

US travel plans in limbo as visa appointment dates elude Gujaratis

“We are willing to appear for an interview in any of the three languages; English, Hindi and Gujarati. But we are not getting interview dates,” said Bhavesh. He said their visa application has expired after one year and they have not been able to reapply as US consulate has not announced new interview dates for the last two years.
There are other desperate Gujaratis too who are waiting for the appointment to give wing to travel plans to attend social functions like marriages, meet close relatives or stand in proud attendance of their ward’s convocation.
Jayshree Pandya, a 57-year-old from Rajkot, felt lucky when she got interview dates twice but unfortunately both were cancelled. She was to attend her son’s marriage in New York. When she could go, the son who planned a grand wedding opted for a court marriage instead.
“My son tried to get a visa to visit India but he did not get a date for the visa interview. He opted for a court marriage. The US authorities recently gave him a November date. Hopefully, our family will reunite soon,” she said.
Chetan Trivedi, a 49-year-old businessman, who applied for a visitor’s visa a year ago to attend his son Jay’s convocation in January 2023 has not got any dates yet. “I have been trying to get interview dates in consulates located in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi but have not yet got dates from any of these. Many of my friends are also facing the same situation,” said Trivedi who says he would not like to miss the milestone in his son’s life.
Ahmedabad based consultant Bharat Patel said that many of his clients are trying in vain to get visa appointments for two years now. “People wanting to visit the US in emergencies are also not getting the dates, putting them in a major fix,” Patel said.
Visa consultant Hemant Agrawal says that many of his clients who have functions and events planned in the next few months have got interview slots in November or in December which is very late. “Consulates of European countries and other countries are running normally now. The problem lies with US consultancies only” Agrawal said.

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