In a bid to reduce the wait time for US visa applicants in India, the United States is set to establish new consulate offices across the country, according to an announcement by US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti.
These measures aim to tackle the growing backlog of visa applications and expedite the processing time for Indian nationals seeking to travel to the US.
New Consulates in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad
Ambassador Garcetti revealed plans to open new consulates in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad during a press briefing. This strategic expansion aims to accelerate the visa processing time and address the growing demand for US visas in the region.
Increased Staff Strength in Hyderabad
To tackle the existing visa backlog, Garcetti informed reporters that additional staff members have been deployed to the Hyderabad consulate. The move is part of a comprehensive effort to streamline the visa application process and improve efficiency.
Surge in US Visas Issued to Indians
Highlighting recent developments, Ambassador Garcetti mentioned that the number of US visas issued to Indian nationals has increased by one-third in the past few weeks. This surge is a crucial step in clearing the existing backlog and facilitating smoother visa processing.
It’s official! As of this month, our India team processed more visa applications in 2023 than in any previous year. And we aren’t done yet! We'll be serving thousands of students, workers, tourists, and more in the coming weeks just in time for the busy holiday travel season.… pic.twitter.com/2oYWRIyZ2f— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) November 20, 2023
Reduction in Wait Time for Students and Tourists
Garcetti emphasized the substantial reduction in wait times for US visas, particularly for students and tourists. The processing duration has decreased from six months to a year, depending on the type of application submitted to the US Embassy.
Addressing Backlogs Due to High Demand
The US Ambassador acknowledged that the backlog issues were primarily a result of the overwhelming number of visa applications from India.
He described the situation as “difficult” to manage but expressed optimism about overcoming challenges with the implementation of new measures.
Focus on Expedited Visa Issuance
With the influx of additional staff and the establishment of new consulate offices, the United States is committed to expediting the visa issuance process for Indian nationals. This proactive approach aligns with ongoing efforts to enhance diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Record-breaking Visa Issuance
In September of this year, the US Embassy achieved a significant milestone by issuing one million US visas to Indian applicants. The official statement from the embassy noted that this surpasses the total number of visas processed in 2022.
Additionally, when compared to 2019 and pre-pandemic years, there has been a notable 20 per cent increase in visa applications processed in 2023.
In conclusion, the collaborative efforts of increased staffing and new consulate offices underscore the commitment of the United States to facilitate a smoother and more efficient visa application process for Indian citizens.