Those coming to the United States to work or study must arrive in Belfast for a visa interview or face lengthy delays at Dublin’s Ballsbridge embassy.
Those who need a visa and don’t want to wait months have to go to Belfast for an interview and come back a few days later to get a passport.
The U.S. Embassy requires visa applicants to submit documents to their employees and attend a face-to-face interview with the salesperson.
However, those living in Ireland who need a visa quickly will have to make a visa appointment in Belfast and go there for an interview.
They will then have to obtain their visas from a designated location in Belfast, or arrange for someone else to collect the passports on their behalf.
Data shows that in the six months before the pandemic, more than 100 immigrant visas were issued by post from the Dublin embassy.
However, these people now have to travel to the North if they want to get a visa faster.
It is understood that employees are working through a backlog of applications of approximately two years that cannot be processed due to the pandemic.
A statement on the website reads that “service wait times may be longer”.
A spokesperson for the US embassy in Dublin has said that interviewees may face “prolonged visa interview wait times”.
“As demand for interview appointments remains very high, available appointments will be made quickly.”
The spokesperson also said that travelers should regularly check online appointment times.
“We recommend that potential travelers continue to check our online booking system regularly.
“Even if there are no appointments when they first try to schedule a visa interview, we regularly add the ability to book an appointment to meet this high demand.”
The spokesperson said the embassy is committed to “facilitating lawful travel to the United States of both immigrant and non-immigrant visitors.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions have affected the visa operations of embassies and while we have resumed all normal visa procedures, applicants may still have to face lengthy visa interview wait times.
“We remain open throughout the pandemic and are committed to reducing that wait time as quickly as possible.”
Sen. Timmy Dooley of Fianna Fáil said employees should put in more workers to handle the long backlog.
“The reality is that there are people who still need a visa to come to the US to work or study and it’s hard to see why that can’t be done at the Dublin office.
“US embassy staff in Dublin will be able to bring in more people to handle the backlog. Expecting people to travel to Belfast is placing an unnecessary burden on people,” he said.
Mr Dooley said the Government should consider helping the US embassy in Ballsbridge to speed up the process.
“The question that remains is what support the Irish Government can provide to the US embassy to accelerate this process,” he said.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/those-wanting-to-study-or-work-in-us-face-trek-to-belfast-for-visa-41429754.html People who want to study or work in the US must walk to Belfast to get a visa