A trip to Europe turned into a nightmare for a Bay Area couple who are anxious to be reunited before their baby arrives in February.
During a visit to a U.S. Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, Rahul Dutta said he got word that processing his visa application to re-enter the United States was delayed.
"Towards the end, I was literally crying every day. It was hard because I knew he wouldn't be back with me on the flight,” said Ankita Dutta, Rahul's wife. “And I didn't know how I was going to manage stuff once I come back home."
Now, Ankita Dutta is back home in San Francisco, while Rahul is in Germany, where he's still waiting.
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During the pandemic, many legal U.S. residents like Rahul Dutta have had to wait through the uncertainty of travel bans and restrictions. Throughout the year, he said that he had been trying to renew his residency status.
Rahul Dutta said he was happy when the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt had an appointment. But ever since then, he hasn't heard much.
"Checking in. As you know, my wife is pregnant. I'm a long-term resident. I’m happy to provide any information. But I get a standard response saying, 'you're still under administrative processing,'” Rahul Dutta added.
Rahul Dutta said he has also reached out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office for help.
NBC Bay Area’s Sergio Quintana reached out to the U.S. State Department for comment, and it released the following statement:
"The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in profound reductions in the department's visa processing capacity, and many of our embassies and consulates were only able to offer emergency services. Many of our embassies and consulates continue to face COVID-19 related restrictions."
The Duttas are hoping Rahul’s visa is processed before their son is born, as he's due in 28 days.
"You know, I’m hoping that there's someone who has a heart, who looks at our situation, and you know ... this is now a case of family separation,” said Rahul Dutta.