Top US legislators have asked the Biden administration to solve the visa wait time issue in the nation on a priority basis, characterising India as an essential partner in which people-to-people relationships are crucial.
Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congressman Michael Waltz, Co-Chair of the House India Caucus, inquired top State Department officials during two separate Congressional hearings on the Consular Affairs Budget why people in India were facing visa wait times of up to 600 days.
The United States and India have significant people-to-people relations. India has joined the QUAD. According to Menendez, the United States is continuously involved in geostrategic objectives. New Jersey is home to a large number of Indian Americans and their families, and he praised the department's increased emphasis on cutting wait times for first-time B1 or B2 US visa applicants in India.
Despite this year's progress, India continues to have the longest wait times in the world, with first-time B1/B2 applicants often having to wait between 450 and 600 days for a US visa appointment.
Menendez stated that the Indo-US partnership is one of the most important economic, diplomatic, and security connections in the twenty-first century.
One of the persistent and unsettling concerns that Congressman Waltz gets from Indian Americans and Indian colleagues is the wait time, even though India has the second or third most US consular affairs officials.
Meanwhile, Waltz stated that the average wait time in Mumbai, India was 587 calendar days. He also questioned what the government is doing to address the issue, given PM Modi's visit to the US for a state banquet this month. He stated that the visa delay would have an impact on the business relationship.
Meanwhile, Rena Bitter, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, told senators at two separate Congressional sessions that the State Department is working hard on it and has taken many steps to resolve the issue.
She further added that the US has opened vacancies for Indian nationals, as well as specialised appointments in other posts and categories. Bitter went on to say that this year, the nation will adjudicate 1 million visas in India.
Source: The Economic Times
Want to Know More About the US Visa?