Over a million non-immigrant visa applications have been processed by the US Mission to India so far in 2023 surpassing its goal for the year, per the US government.
“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 per cent of all visa applicants worldwide, including 20 per cent of all student visa applicants and 65 per cent of all H&L-category (employment) visa applicants. The United States welcomes this growth,” according to a statement issued by the US Embassy in India on Thursday.
The Mission has already surpassed the total number of cases processed in 2022 and is processing almost 20 per cent more applications than in pre-pandemic 2019, it 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,” said US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti.
To reduce the wait time for US visa applicants in India, which for some cases exceeds a 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,” the statement pointed out.
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, it said.
Early next year, the Mission plans to implement a pilot program that would allow domestic visa renewal for qualified H&L-category employment visa applicants, the statement added.