The United States recently made an announcement that it will issue visas to one million Indians in 2023. The announcement was made almost a month after opening up visa slots on weekends for Indian citizens.
A US embassy spokesperson in New Delhi explained to Indian Express that the US Mission has already processed more than two lakh visa applications at their Embassy and Consulates in India. They are on track to reach the aim of processing more than one million applications for non-immigrant visas this year.
They wish to fulfil their aim of processing one million applications for US visas which include non-immigrant visas of all categories.
The US embassy informed that in 2022, the US Department of State processed around nine million non-immigrant visas across the world. The categories that are included in it are business, travel, crew visas and students visas.
To achieve the target, the Embassy is recruiting more staff, increasing the drop box facility scope and opening up interview slots over the weekends so that the visa process is smooth for Indian students. There has been a serious reduction in waiting time.
In January, the US embassy arranged for special slots for interviews on Saturdays so that they can process visas faster for first-time applicants. It is referred to as a “multi-pronged initiative” that addresses the huge backlog in the processing of visa applications during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The US Mission has offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad besides Delhi. It has also increased the strength of its consular staff.
The Embassy spokesperson said that said the one million visa plan is an effort specific to India that would strengthen the people-to-people ties between India and USA.
The purview of the interview waiver also expanded recently for Indian citizens seeking a US visa.
With the drop box facility, it is possible to renew a US visa without having to crack the visa interview. It is now applicable to various categories including student visas, business visas, tourist visas and skilled workers visas.
The department is also focusing on increasing the number of consular officers who are permanently assigned to the embassy and consulates.
The department expects the US mission in India to reach its full strength and they expect to process visas at pre-pandemic levels.
Julie Stufft, Secretary for visa services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, while addressing the media in Washington a couple of weeks ago said that India is a number one priority for them now. She also added that till then they issued 36% more visas than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic in India which is a huge progress.
Get Expert Advice on USA Student Visa!
Source: The Indian Express