To hasten the process of new US visa applications, the US administration is deploying additional visa officers and enlarging visa processing facilities, said the president and CEO of NYC & Company, Fred Dixon.
On their recent visit to India, the state representatives said that the renewal of the 10-year US visa has speeded up. It now takes around two weeks, similar to the pre-pandemic time frame.
The US is witnessing a burgeoning number of travellers. Around 3 million Indians hold US visas and have started travelling to the country.
Dixon said that in 2022, they recovered around 85% of their recorded tourism levels as 56.4 million people visited the US. 47 million people were domestic visitors while the rest were international visitors. This number is a 71% increase over the statistics of 2021 when the pandemic was still in a rage.
He added that the travel patterns are now normalising and it is forecasted that a recovery of 93% with an overall visitation growth to 61.7 million in 2023. The 2019 levels are expected to surpass in 2024.
Dixon also commented that student visa requests from Indian students are rising more than from other countries. In New York City, India remained among the top 10 markets during the pandemic with many visiting their friends and family in the city. In 2022, 2.5 lakh Indians visited New York and recovered 75% of 2019 visitations. In 2023, the numbers are expected to grow to 2.9 lakh visitors.
Earlier to speed up the visa application process in India, the US embassy and its consulates have initiated several programs such as special Saturday interview days. They are remotely processing interview waivers for those who already had US visas before. The number of Consular officers has increased. Additional 2,50,000 B1/B2 appointments have been released by US Mission in India.
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Source: Live Mint