In recent times, waiting times for obtaining a US visa at US embassies in many countries have been very long. For travellers from many countries, these waiting times can be avoided by applying for an ESTA USA online.
Three-year wait for visa appointment
Travellers from many countries, including countries in Europe, who want to travel to the United States are confronted with long waiting times for obtaining a visa for the United States. These delays mainly concern the interviews at the US embassy or consulate in the country of origin. These interviews can be a part of the application procedure for the US visa. In some countries, applicants have to wait up to three years for an interview appointment. In order to apply for an ESTA, the electronic travel authorisation for the US, no visit to the embassy or consulate is required. The ESTA can be completely applied for online, making the application a lot less time-consuming than a visa application at the embassy or consulate.
What is the cause of these waiting times?
The delays are probably a result of the lockdowns related to COVID-19. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, US consulates around the world were closed for two years. This problem does not only concern the US consulates. The consulates and embassies in Canada, the United Kingdom and the Schengen countries are experiencing long waiting times. Canadian consulates, for example, have seen waiting times of more than 150 days.
Travellers from certain countries particularly affected
The US Embassy in India is experiencing the biggest delays. The waiting time in Mumbai is 833 days, which means that people have to wait almost three years for an appointment. For some visa types, the waiting time is not as long, for instance for obtaining US visas for (exchange) students. However, even when applying for this visa, people have to wait over 400 days at the US embassies in India. Similarly, in Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria and Panama people have to wait for more than 700 days.
Waiting times for European travellers
The situation is much less severe for travellers from European countries. The waiting time in London is quite short, only 40 days, and in Dublin people have to wait for only 29 days. There are countries where the waiting times are just as short. For example, in Bucharest, Oslo and Tallinn, the waiting times at the US embassies are also less than 50 days. With a waiting time of two days in Sarajevo and 535 days in Athens, a European traveller has to wait on average 200 days for an appointment. However, for travellers from most European countries it is also possible to easily and quickly apply for an ESTA online, which in most cases is a better option than applying for a visa.
Avoid the waiting times with an ESTA
For a holiday, business trip or transit in the US of up to three months, you can apply for an ESTA USA instead of a visa. You can easily submit your application online. Applying for an ESTA takes less time, money and energy than applying for a visa.
Applying for an ESTA is only possible for people with the nationality of one of the 40 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program of the United States, including the United Kingdom and Ireland. Do you have a different nationality? Check whether your nationality qualifies for an ESTA before you submit your application. You can apply for the ESTA with the English form on this website. Do you want to apply for an ESTA for a trip to the United States? Always check before submitting the application whether you meet all the requirements.
Take note: this news article about the ESTA for the USA is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the ESTA for the USA.