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Envoy Garcetti meets US top official Rena Bitter, thanks her for fostering ties with India

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New Delhi | February 22, 2024 10:55:11 PM IST
The US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, held a meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Rena Bitter in Delhi on Thursday and lauded her and India's consular team for a 75 per cent reduction in visitor visa wait times and issuing over 1 million visas.

He thanked her for fostering ties between India and the US through consular connections.

In a post on X, Garcetti stated, "It was my pleasure connecting with Assistant Secretary Rena Bitter who is in New Delhi to lead the US-India Consular Dialogue! Kudos to her and Consular Team India for their outstanding achievements last year with a 75 per cent reduction in visitor visa wait times, 140K student visas, 255K work visas, and a record-breaking 1M+ total visas issued! Thank you for fostering stronger #USIndia ties through consular connections."

Rena Bitter, who is on a visit to India, 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 travellers, but there are mechanisms for being able to expedite humanitarian cases, and for being able to expedite business visas. But beyond that, in the last year, we have reduced wait times by 75 per cent. 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.

In 2023, the US Consular Team in India processed a record 1.4 million US visas in 2023, which is higher than ever, and has reduced visitor visa appointment wait times by 75 per cent, according to the US Embassy in India.

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, according to a statement from the US Embassy in India.

In 2023, the US consular team in India issued over 140,000 student visas - more than in any other country in the world setting a record for the third year in a row. Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai now stand as the top four student visa processing posts in the world. (ANI)

 
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