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"More Indians can travel to US than at any other time in our history": US Diplomat Rena Bitter

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Mumbai | February 22, 2024 1:54:31 PM IST
US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter on Thursday expressed her excitement about visiting India and highlighted the 'explosion' in travel between India and the US.

"We're very excited to be here. This is the 11th annual dialogue on consular issues that we've had with our partners in the Indian government. There are a lot of issues for us to cover and a lot of really good news for us to cover. We'll talk a lot about the incredible explosion in travel between the United States and India. Today, more Indians can travel to the United States than at any other time in our history. We'll also talk about some of the issues that reflect the really strong family ties between the United States and India," she said.

"More Indians can travel to the United States than at any other time in our history. Last year, this mission adjudicated 1.4 million visas, the most in many, many years. We've made tremendous progress. There is no wait time in virtually every category of visas that we issue. There is a wait time for some travelers, but there are mechanisms for being able to expedite humanitarian cases, for being able to expedite business visas. But beyond that, in the last year we have reduced wait times by 75%. And the way that we have done that is by ensuring that we have. It is really important to us in Washington, again, because this bilateral relationship is so important," she added.

US official Rena Bitter is travelling to India, during which she is scheduled to engage with embassy and consulate colleagues in Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi. She will be travelling to India and Qatar during her visit from February 19-27.

The US Consular Team in India processed a record 1.4 million US visas in 2023, which is higher than ever, and has brought down the visitor visa appointment wait times by 75 per cent.

The US Embassy and Consulates in India said that Indians now represent one out of every ten US visa applicants around the world.

Visitor visas (B1/B2) have rebounded to represent the second-highest number of applications in the US Mission's history -- over 7,00,000.

Process improvements and investments in staffing have brought the appointment wait time for visitor visas down from an average of 1,000 days to only 250 days around the country with minimal wait time in all categories.

The US consular team in India issued over 1,40,000 student visas in 2023 - more than in any other country in the world setting a record for the third year in a row.

Among the specific states, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai are the top four student visa processing posts in the world. This has made Indian students the largest group of international graduate students in the United States. They make up more than a quarter of the over one million foreign students studying in the United States. (ANI)

 
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