The US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Donald Lu, announced that the Biden administration is committed to processing all student visas for Indians before the start of the fall school semester.
In an interview with the Press Trust of India, Lu also stated that the US is prioritizing work visas, such as H-1B and L visas, which are in high demand among Indian IT professionals.
Lu went on to say that the wait times for US visa appointments in some consular sections in India have been reduced to less than 60 days.
Record Number of Visas for India
According to Mr Lu, the United States is on track to issue over one million visas to Indians this year, including student visas, a record number. India is now the United States’ second-largest source of international students.
Meanwhile, there is a growing concern in India about the long wait times for first-time visa applicants, particularly those applying under the B1 (business) and B2 (tourist) categories.
New Visa Renewal Pilot Program
Lu also discussed plans to restart domestic visa renewal for petition-based nonimmigrant work visa applicants who meet specific requirements, such as being physically present in the US. The pilot programme, which is set to launch later this year, will eliminate the need for applicants to travel abroad to renew their visas.
Strengthening India-US Relations
Lu emphasized the importance of the relationship between India and the US and noted that it enjoys bipartisan support in the US. He attributed this in part to the strong diaspora community in the US, which has ties to India.
Additionally, Lu pointed out that over 100,000 Americans are living in India, and the ties between the two countries are significant despite the distance and cost of travel.
As the US continues to prioritize visas for Indian students and IT professionals, this announcement from Lu comes as welcome news to many. The move is expected to strengthen the ties between the two countries and has positive implications for both economies.
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