Hameed ul Haq’s duplex in College Station has the bare, blank walls and modest decor of a stereotypical bachelor pad. But Haq is no bachelor. Despite his three-and-a-half years of marriage, his wife has yet to step foot in their future home. The couple’s dreams of starting a family together have been foiled by an unsuspecting interloper: Pakistan’s U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.
Haq is one of thousands of spouses and other relatives of U.S. citizens stuck in what has historically been a speedy step in the visa process: the consular interview. But these routine interviews that once took a matter of weeks to schedule are now being delayed by many months, and in some cases, years.