US Targets One Million Visas for India as Visitor Wait Times Decrease, Including Student Visas

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According to a senior official, the wait time for a US visitor’s visa interview in India has significantly declined this year.

Julie Stufft, deputy assistant secretary of state for visa services, reported that an increase in the number of officials and new diplomatic missions to process these applications has contributed to this improvement.

Efforts to Issue One Million US Visas

The goal is to issue one million US visas this year, which would be above the pre-pandemic number. More than 100 US diplomatic missions have been issuing visas to Indians. Frankfurt, London, and Abu Dhabi also have taken many Indian citizens seeking visas.

Increased Officers and New Arrangements

“We have increased the number of officers going to India. We have set up arrangements, which is unprecedented, with other embassies in the world like Bangkok to take Indians who are seeking visas. We are opening a new consulate in Hyderabad… and we’re just focused on making sure that we can bring the wait time down in India,” PTI quoted the official as saying.

US Visitor’s Visa Categories

US visitor’s visas are non-immigrant visas for those who want to visit the United States for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).

A visitor visa cannot be issued for the purpose of study, employment, paid performances, arrival as a crew member on a ship or aircraft, foreign press, or permanent residence in the United States.

Decreased Wait Times

As a result of all these efforts, the visitor visa interview wait time has decreased by 60 per cent in just the last couple of months. This decrease is a result of all the work put into making sure that Indians who wish to travel to the US can do so.

Other Types of Visas

In addition to the visitor’s visa, Stufft said the US state department is working on other types of visas, including student visas.

“Because we have been able to expand interview waivers, meaning fewer Indians need to come to the embassy or consulate for an interview, we can process that without seeing the applicant. That has helped us tremendously because we have had consular officers in dozens of countries who are actually remotely processing these Indian visas,” Stufft said.

Record Time for Some

This has made it possible for people who don’t need an interview, those who have travelled to the US before, to get their visa in a record time of fewer than two weeks, she said. However, the official noted that the ideal situation is for Indians to be able to apply in India.

(Source & Inputs from PTI)

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