In a big feat, the United States mission in India has processed over one million visa applications this year so far, adding that it “will not stop here”. According to an official release from the US Embassy in India, the mission has reached and surpassed its goal to process one million nonimmigrant visa applications in 2023. It said that the mission has already surpassed the total number of cases that were processed in 2022 and is processing almost 20 per cent more applications than in pre-pandemic 2019.
Expressing pride over the achievement, US Envoy to India Eric Garcetti said that PM Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden had emphasised a better job of moving faster on issuing visas and hence MEA approved more bodies like Hyderabad.
“…more people who can work on visas, we changed our systems, worked harder and smarter and we have processed a million visa applications this year today officially. We just have to continue to prepare for the future,” Garcetti said.
“As noted in the Joint Statement issued by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden during the President’s recent visit to India, the United States and India share a “close and enduring” partnership. Improved visa processing is only one example of the U.S. Mission to India’s ongoing commitment to strengthening that partnership,” the US Mission statement said.
ANI posted a video where Garcetti could be seen handing over the passport to the one millionth visa holder and her spouse in Delhi.
US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti hands over passport to one millionth visa holder and her spouse in Delhi pic.twitter.com/U77h5rn752
— ANI (@ANI) September 28, 2023
“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 U.S.-India friendship firsthand,” Garcetti said, as quoted by the US embassy official release.
According to the release, over 1.2 million Indians visited the United States in 2022, making this one of the most robust travel relationships in the world. It added, “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.”
#Missionto1M accomplished! We are excited to announce that the U.S. Mission to India has reached and surpassed our goal to process one million visa applications in 2023!
We will not stop here and continue our progress in coming months, to give as many Indian applicants the… pic.twitter.com/4mTypC2wqh
— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) September 28, 2023
The mission said that recognising the continued high demand for US visas, the “United States continues to invest heavily in our operations in India”, adding that in 2022 the Mission expanded its staffing to facilitate more visa processing than ever before. “The Mission has made significant capital improvements to existing facilities, such as the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, and has inaugurated a new Consulate building in Hyderabad,” the statement added.
It said that the Mission 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. “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,” it added.