Keeping its previous promises to prioritise Indian visa applicants, another announcement has been made by the US Consulates in Bangkok and Frankfurt. Reports reveal the US missions in these countries will now reserve special appointments for Indian B1/B2 applicants. Over the past year, more than 1,50,000 student and exchange-visitor visas had been issued by US missions in India, catapulting Indian-origin students to becoming the second largest international student cohort in the USA after China.
The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Bureau of Consular Affairs, Hugo Rodriguez highlighted the ability of Indian B1/B2 applicants to apply for a visa from anywhere in the world, however, it is the Bangkok and Frankfurt missions that have reserved daily slots for the visa category.
According to official regulations, B1 visas are used by individuals wishing to enter the country for business purposes, whereas, B2 visas are used by individuals wishing to enter the country for leisure or visitation purposes.
Speaking to reporters, Rodriguez revealed that Indians facing long wait times that are not feasible for their requirements can travel to Bangkok and Frankfurt, where the consular section has set aside a number of appointments every day for Indian applicants.
The move makes sense as the US mission to India had, earlier this year, made a promise to process more than a million visa applications in 2023. With such a grand objective, the next step would be to reduce the visa processing delays and wait times, which the mission achieved by delegating temporary consular officers in Mumbai.
In a bid to maximise travel of B1/B2 visa holders, Rodriguez highlighted the different steps that the US has taken. For instance, another announcement that had been made recently saw the extension of the in-person interview waiver programme up till December 2023. Through the programme, those displaying no apparent or potential signs of ineligibility can be selected for the interview waiver by the consular officers.
The US had, in the last month, announced the start of the US Student Visa appointments in mid-may, urging aspirants to apply for the appointments as soon as possible. The US mission, however, also assured students that more visa appointment slots would be available at a later date as well.
Source: The Indian Express
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