A ray of hope for US visa applicants from India comes after a senior diplomat in Chennai revealed that over 8 lakh visas are expected to be processed by the US Embassy in India over 12 months.
The Minister Counsellor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy, Donald L Heflin, addressed the media stating that 8 lakh visas are expected to be issued over the coming 12 months. He also added that the US Embassy in India has opened up several visa processing slots in a bid to meet the demand for the USA’s H and L visas.
In response to a question targeting the number of total visas that were being issued before the pandemic wrought havoc over the world, Helfin revealed that around 1.2 million visas had been issued. He further expressed his hope for achieving pre-Covid-19 levels between 2023 and 2024.
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Further revealing the plans that will lead to achieving the goal, Heflin also pointed out that staffing at the US Embassy consulates was also being ramped while announcing a new building for the purpose as well.
In his statements, he revealed that US visa processing was being completed by 50% of the staff as a result of the pandemic-induced restrictions. However, with more staff, “a new big building in Hyderabad”, as well as additional staff in the New Delhi and Mumbai US Embassy consulates, the visa processes are expected to ramp up as well. He also pointed out that the Kolkata US Embassy consulate had already been working with 100% of its staff.
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The Minister Counsellor further revealed that a dedicated phone number and an email address have been made available to the visa applicants to seek assistance with their appointments, after questions over dedicated helplines to help visa applicants were raised.
Settling questions over whether the Indian visa applications were “put on hold” as a result of the pandemic, the Minister Counsellor revealed that “not that high” several visas had been kept aside. While concluding his statements, Heflin announced that further changes and updates will be revealed in the coming days.
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Source: Economic Times by India Times