Want A U.S. Tourist Visa? That’ll Be A Two Year Wait

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You have to be kidding. Why does it take our government more than 60 days to provide a tourist visa for the USA? With all of the technology available today the whole process should take hours not months. Or is this an indication that the US does not want any tourist visiting our country?

  2. Insane but not surprising. I have a friend who wanted to marry a Dominican lady from an upper class family. She even got an MBA in the US. The immigration people kept losing their paperwork and lying about it, then claimed she was just doing a marriage of convenience to get in. They finally gave up, he moved to the D.R. and established a good career. They have 2 lovely daughters. So the US lost two excellent people through bureaucratic incompetence.

  3. @ Gary — The rude lady on WN better be glad that we weren’t seated behind her. Would have been a much different outcome.

  4. Two years is not too bad. In Ghana and Nigeria the earliest appointment slots for first time B1/B2 applicants for US visas have been for 2025 application. Potential travelers have been advised to apply at least 3 years in advance of planned trips.

    Meanwhile administrative processing applications from 2018 are also still pending. And if your passport expires while the processing is ongoing, you have to start the whole process again. So basically it is a vicious circle.

  5. Given the visa backlog built up during 2020 and 2021, a financially-related unwillingness/inability to staff up more, and a refusal to ease up on visa applicant screening standards, these kind of delays are the predictable outcome.

  6. Ofcourse they dont want anyone to visit. We already took in a million and counting. Just try that on another country.

  7. Waiting over 90 days for a tourist visa is simply unacceptable for any first world country.

    The new Thompson seat looks narrow.

  8. It is really stupid. I need to renew my american visa (brazilian living in Chile), it is the sixth one I have (in the 80s and 90s the visa was only for one year, now it is for ten) and the next appointment is only next year. I have been to the US more than twenty times in the last ten years and have a wedding in NY next november. But my visa expires in october…
    From the third or fourth tourist visa renewal the US government should know that the person has absolutely no intention of living/working in the US. Really sad!

  9. The problem seems to be the required in-person interview. As soon as covid ramped up the consulate people all started working from home and not holding interviews. They still have a backlog and they still are not working too hard. Here in Georgia they cancelled appointments in April due to covid and I think they sent those people to the back of the line again. Another 2 years now. And other than the consulate people nobody else in this country is worried about covid or stopping their work.

    Of course there isn’t much need for a visa when you can walk across the southern border.

  10. Do American taxpayers really want to see their taxes go up (and/or national debt go up) to increase staffing hours/labor costs to clear a visa application/demand backlog?Do US visa applicants want to see a big increase in US visa application prices to pay for that demand backlog to be cleared way faster? Do Americans welcome facing higher foreign visa fees that are a reciprocal move when those foreign countries’ citizens face a higher priced US visa fee structure?

    Just wait until the next major US passport price increase hits. It will be a bigger increase in price because the “more secure” passports are nothing but more costly already to produce.

  11. It’s just a few highly overstaying records countries.

    Most countries only take 2 weeks for appointment then get approved upon interview,

    Blaming your people for nonstop breaking the laws, don’t blame the system.

  12. The backlog for all US immigration actions is atrocious. However, there is no easy solution. There is a statutory requirement for USCIS to cover processing costs through fees. Consular officials do not come cheap; faster processing would necessarily require either higher fees or a commitment of tax revenue to fund operations that have not traditionally received taxpayer funds. While some business-sponsored actions have an option for expedited processing, the fees are extremely high. At the end of the day, there is a specific process for identifying visa-waiver countries, and so long as there is a high rate of overstays, visas are a necessary evil.

  13. It’s not just “high rate of overstays” or “nonstop breaking the laws” by a foreign country’s nationals that keep countries off the US Visa Waiver Program list. The US Government also uses the US visa waiver program as a carrot and a stick for the US to get its way with foreign countries.

  14. I have friends that were legally moving to the US from South Africa because of a company transfer. They actually got appointments at the Consulate in JNB and were turned away at the door! “Sorry, we’re closed now.” No warning…no email…NADA and no way to get a reason or reschedule. They had to go back to the US web sites and start over trying to find another date only to be turned away AGAIN! I have a friend who is a former ambassador and I was told…”LAZY workers”. They don’t care. COVID is the excuse for everything from closing the Consulates/Embassies to lack of dental floss! After two years, my friends got the interview at the consulate and got their passports back back in less than 10 days with the coveted visas! Thanks to President “Paw Paw” and his imbecilic crew, it would have been easier to fly to Mexico and walk across the border, get free everything and disappear.

  15. Such hassles with getting visas was also happening during the prior US Administration. And given what Tillerson and Pompeo thought of the State Department, their “leadership” trashed it and has had consequences in consular services too.

    The idea that it’s easier for a South African passport user to “fly to Mexico and walk across the border, get free everything and disappear” is just ill-informed troll talk from people who have never tried to do so themselves as a non-US person from a non-US VWP country without a US visa.

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