Continual Growth in the Number of U.S. Visas Issued to Indians
Posted on February 3, 2012
As the U.S. government simplifies its visa application process, a year-on-year growth of 14 percent in visa processing for Indian citizens is being targetted according to James W. Herman, minister-counsellor for consular affairs at the US embassy in India.
In 2011, nearly 700,000 U.S visa applications were processed by the U.S. consular team in India and a record 67,105 H1B work visas were issued. The U.S. consular team in India processes almost 65 percent of the world’s H1B visa applications.
“We target 14 percent year-on-year growth in visa processing at least for the next 10 years. By 2020, our target is to issue 2.1 million visas for Indian travelers,” stated Herman whilst adding that there will be an increase in all the visa categories but the maximum growth would be in the tourist visa segment.
In order to improve and speed up the visa process, the U.S embassy in India has increased the number of staff by over 60 percent in the last five years, opened two new consulates (one in Hyderabad in 2009 and one in Mumbai last year) and introduced a number of innovative measures. The diplomat said 97 percent of visas are processed within 24 hours, and the wait time for visa appointments is currently 10 days or less. “Applicants wait less than one hour for services at the embassy and consulates. That means if you come at 10 a.m., the whole process will be over by 11 a.m”
As Herman indicated, the increase in the number of travelers from India will help boost business and economic ties between the two countries.