The pandemic in last two years stopped many NRIs from visiting India. While many Indians from the US stayed away from visiting India due to obvious scare of Covid-19, many others could not visit due to unavailability of Visa interviews.
For the unversed, Indians from the US can visit India anytime but can only after going through the visa interview or drop box process if their visa got renewed recently. With the wide spread of Covid-19 case in India, the US Consulate cancelled many visa appointments in the last two years and only a limited and lucky folks managed to get to the visa interviews.
This year, the Indians in the US started facing new issue. While the Visa interview appointments are very limited across all the US Consulates in India, the people who have waited for last two years are getting desperate to visit India on a vacation. With the unavailability of Visa interview/drop box slots, there came up many ‘middlemen’ surprisingly.
We Indians know that there are many things that can be done through the ‘brokers’, but their business now entered the US Visa interview appointments! With very minimum slots getting available now and then, the common people are struggling to get the slots booked. But the brokers are somehow managing to grab some slots and asking for more than Rs 10,000 for each appointment to each person and even more in many cases.
It looks like the visa appointment slots have reached the maximum for all visas and the wait of many NRIs continues until the consulate opens the dates of next few months.
With the Broker hawa highly dominating the US visa interview appointments, the consulates also ackowledged the existence of them and promised to block them from doing what they are doing. Apart from the NRIs who are asking for the help of brokers, there are others who started trying on their own with limited logins into US Consulate website wash day. There are hundreds of thousands in several Telegram groups that are trying to help each other get the visa interview slots.
Well, this is one of the side effects that Covid-19 have given to the people of India.