New Delhi [India], September 28 (ANI): The US Mission to India has reached and surpassed the goal to process one million non-immigrant visa applications in 2023. The mission has already surpassed the total number of cases processed in 2022 and is processing almost 20 per cent more applications than in the pre-pandemic year 2019.
The US Embassy and Consulates in India said in a statement that last year over 1.2 million Indians visited US, making 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 HL-category (employment) visa applicants. The United States welcomes this growth," the statement said.
The US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti expressed happiness as he shared the information "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" he said. "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 first hand" Garcetti added.
The US envoy to gave Visa to the one millionth US Visa holder, Ranju Singh and her spouse, who are planning to go the US to meet their son who is studying there.
Garcetti congratulated them as he gave them their visas and had a brief conversation with the one millionth US visa holder.
He further highlighted that PM Modi and US President Joe biden said "lets do a better job of moving faster on visas, so the Ministry of External Affairs approved more bodies in places like hyderabad, more people who can work on these visas. We changed our systems, we worked smarter, worked harder and got a million visa applications...""This is really people to people relationhip and not just country to country relationship," he added.
The envoy said that US will continue to invest heavily in its operations in India as it recognizes the continues demand for US visas.
The US Embassy in India marked the occassion by posting a video on X that said "Mission to one million accomplished." "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 opportunity to travel to the United States," the post said.
In the Video US Envoy Garcetti said that people to people ties between the United States and India are stronger than ever.
"To all one million applicants, thank you for choosing to be a part of the US-india story. Whether you are studying, working, vacationing, or investing, your contributions are a big part of what makes this relationship so great," Garcetti said in the video.
The US Embassy in its statement said that it was investing heavily in facilitating faster visa processing.
"In the past 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 U.S. Consulate in Chennai, and has inaugurated a new Consulate building in Hyderabad," a statement from the US Embassy said. According to the statement, the mission has also implemented strategies to increase efficiency extending interview waiver eligibility to new visa categories and utilizing 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 HL-category employment visa applicants," the statement from the US Embassy read.
During US President Joe Biden's visit to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Biden stated in a joint statement that the countries share a "close and enduring" partnership.
According to the joint statement, "Improved visa processing is only one example of the U.S. Mission to India's ongoing commitment to strengthening that partnership." (ANI)