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US: US authorities aim to process over 10 lakh non-immigrant visa applications in India in 2023

As the United States announced its target to process over 10 lakh non-immigrant visa applications in India in 2023, the US Department of Commerce also issued the latest data which shows Indians were the third-largest overseas visitors in the US, last year. At over 14 lakhs, Indians were the third largest overseas visitors in the US in 2022.

According to the previous year’s data, especially in the years 2017 and 2018, over 10 lakh non-immigrant visas were issued to Indians.

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US authorities have also undertaken several steps to cut down the waiting period for interviews. The interview waiting period for visitor visas has gone down from three years last November to two years, which is still a long wait. The number of interviews had almost touched the 1,000 a day mark last year for visitor visa, B1 (business) and B2 (tourist), interview cases.

The changes also include making more applicants eligible for interview waivers, sending drop box cases abroad for adjudication and getting more temporary staffers.

A US Embassy spokesperson in a TOI report said, “The US Mission to India has already processed more than two lakh visa applications at our embassy and consulates in India (so far this calendar year) and we’re on track to hit our goal of processing more than 10 lakh non-immigrant visa applications in 2023. Our goal to process one million visa applications includes non-immigrant visas of all categories.”

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The (US) department of state processed around 90 lakh non-immigrant visa applications in 2022 across the world. Mission million “is an India-specific effort, to further strengthen the people-to-people ties between our two countries,” the spokesperson added.Following the pandemic, Indians have gained a lot of attention for being the biggest globetrotters, garnering a number of visas for several key destinations. Despite the extremely long wait for visa issuance and the excessively expensive airfare, Indians are still travelling to the US in large numbers. Total international visitor in 2022 to the US was almost 5.1 crore — up 128% from 2021, but still 64% of the total international visitor arrivals in 2019.

While the top two source markets remain Canada (1.4 crore) and Mexico (1.2 crore) that share a land border with the US, the top overseas markets were UK (34.2 lakh) followed by Germany (15 lakh) and then India (14.5 lakh). “New York reported the largest volume of visitor arrivals as a port of entry for 2022 (followed by) Miami and Los Angeles,” the department said in a statement.