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Visa Backlog: India 2nd biggest overseas source market for inbound visitors to US | India News


NEW DELHI: Indians were the second largest overseas visitors to America, next only to the UK, during this peak summer travel month of June — despite sky-high airfares and visa processing backlog. The top two source countries for inbound to the US have been Canada and Mexico with which it shares a land border. The US department of commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) says international visitor arrivals to the country in June 2023 was 49.9 lakh, almost a quarter more than the same month last year. “The largest number of international visitor arrivals was from Canada (13.5 lakh), Mexico (10.9 lahks), UK (2.7 lakh), India (1.7 lakh) and Germany (1.3 lakh). Combined, these top five source markets accounted for 61% of total international arrivals,” ITA said for inbound to the country this June. India had emerged as the fifth largest source country for international visitors to the US in 2021 — up five places from pre-pandemic 2019. The biggest source markets in 2021 were Mexico, Canada, Colombia, UK and India, according to US department of commerce data. This June it became the fourth largest source market, in the peak travel summer travel month. Anil Kalsi, VP of Travel Agents’ Federation of India, said: “The demand for travel to the US is tremendous because of a number of factors like visiting friends and relatives (VFR), students, parents going to visit children and business. Most flights are going at high load factors. Premium cabins are all taken by business class and senior citizens and they get filled very fast after Covid due to a change in travel habits of the affluent.” “We hope things get better for first time applicants. The travel industry will take it up with the new US ambassador to India,” Kalsi said. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in India Wednesday advised people who have paid visa application to check their receipts and schedule an interview if they haven’t done so already. “Check your receipt! If you paid your visa application fee before October 1, 2022, and have not scheduled an interview yet, book now,” the embassy said on X (formerly Twitter). “Visa applicants typically have 365 days from the date of payment to schedule an appointment before the payment expires. Certain extensions were granted during the Covid-19 pandemic, but these extensions expire on September 30. If you paid your fee prior to October 1, 2022, you must schedule an interview (or submit your interview waiver application, if you are eligible) before September 30, 2023. If you don’t, you may have to pay the fee again! The interview itself does NOT need to take place before September 30, 2023, but an appointment must be scheduled in the system, even if it is for months into the future,” it added.

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