According to a press release by the US Embassy in New Delhi, the United States Mission to India has reached and surpassed its goal to process one million non-immigrant visa applications in 2023.
It is important to mention here that the mission has already surpassed the total number of cases processed in 2022 and is processing almost 20% more applications than pre-pandemic 2019.
Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program
The mission has also implemented strategies to increase efficiency, extending interview waiver eligibility to new visa categories and utilising remote work to allow staff around the world to contribute to Indian visa processing.
In early 2024, the mission plans to implement a pilot program that would allow domestic visa renewal for qualified H-1B and L-1 visa category employment visa applicants. This would be a significant relief for thousands of Indians working in the US, who currently have to travel to India to renew their visas.
The program is a significant relief for thousands of foreign workers, who currently have to travel to their home countries to renew their visas. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, and it can also be difficult to get an appointment at a US consulate or embassy.
The domestic visa renewal program will make it easier for foreign workers to stay in the US and continue working. It will also help to reduce the workload on US consulates and embassies abroad.
The program is still in its early stages of development, and more information will be released in the coming months.
Stronger Ties Between the US and India
US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said, “Our partnership with India is one of the United States’ most important bilateral relationships and in fact one of the most important relationships in the world. The ties between our people are stronger than ever, and we will continue our record-setting volume of visa work in the coming months to give as many Indian applicants as possible the opportunity to travel to the United States and experience the US-India friendship firsthand.”
Robust Travel Relationship
Last year, over 1.2 million Indians visited the United States, making this one of the most robust travel relationships in the world.
“Indians now represent over 10% of all visa applicants worldwide, including 20% of all student visa applicants and 65% of all H&L-category (employment) visa applicants. The United States welcomes this growth,” the US Embassy press release said.
Investment in India Operations
Recognising the continued high demand for US visas, America invests heavily in its operations in India. In the past year, the mission has expanded its staffing to facilitate more visa processing than ever before.
The mission has made significant capital improvements to existing facilities, such as the US consulate in Chennai, and has inaugurated a new consulate building in Hyderabad.