The Department of State announced that it is streamlining the process to apply for certain types of immigration visas and visitor visas.
The US government announced Thursday that changes made by the Department of State to expedite the processing of visas to travel to the United States have made it possible to continue reducing the wait time for visas to travel to the United States.
US law requires many visa applicants to appear in person for an interview at US consulates and embassies around the world.
However, Covid-pandemic era restrictions on public places such as US consulates and embassies abroad restricted the ability to see visa applicants in person and reduced the number of applications the Department could process.
The combination of pent-up demand from the last two years combined with regular seasonal demand has resulted in long wait times for US visa interview appointments, especially for first-time visitor visa applicants and immigrant visa applicants.
The State Department said it has reduced wait times for visa interviews around the world because its staff has expanded, more visas are being granted without requiring appointments for personal interviews, and visa processing is picking up. faster than anticipated.
FY2023 is expected to recover to pre-Covid pandemic visa processing levels.
As of November 2022, the average wait time at US embassies and consulates around the world for a tourist (B1/B2) visa interview appointment is approximately two months, and applicants with Urgent travelers who meet certain criteria can request an emergency appointment, usually available within a few days.
Among the measures already in place that have helped shorten wait times for U.S. visa applicants is waiving in-person interviews for certain categories of nonimmigrant visas and for many visa renewals, when possible while safeguarding national security.
In addition, new tools have been added to travel.state.gov so the public can view and compare wait times between embassies and consulates for nonimmigrant visa interviews and interview waiver applications.
This has allowed the issuance of:
– 40% more H-2 visas for agricultural and seasonal non-agricultural workers in fiscal year 2022 than in fiscal year 2019. This effort increases legal immigration pathways, reduces irregular migration to the southern border, improves problems of the supply chain that contribute to inflation and safeguard the food supply.
– More student visas in fiscal year 2022 than in any other year since fiscal year 2016.
– 145% more employment-based immigrant visas applied for by most health care workers compared to fiscal year 2019.
– Almost equaled pre-pandemic processing rates for airlines and international delivery crew members who are essential to maintaining global supply chains.
By granting more nonimmigrant visa applications to applicants from countries with long wait times without requiring an interview, consular officers in those countries are focusing their work on first-time visa applicants and other visa applicants who require an interview.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.