U.S. Amps Up Visa Interviews for Indian Students by 30 Percent
The U.S. aims to increase visa interview appointments for Indian students by 30 percent this summer, said U.S. Consul General Mike Hankey during his recent visit to the country. “Last year, we sent more than 1.25 lakh Indian students to the U.S., setting a new record for Indian students going to the U.S. in a year and establishing India as the leading country of sending students. This year we are trying to increase that number (of students) further,” he told news agency Press Trust of India. In another development, the U.S. visitor visa wait times in India dropped by 50 percent — from an average of 669 days in mid-March to 337 days in early April — according to the U.S. Travel Association. The industry lobby group attributed the wait time reduction to the U.S. State Department’s initiatives this year to reduce the visa backlog, such as bringing processing staff in on weekends, making overseas embassies available to Indian nationals in other countries and hiring more staff. Applicants in India had an especially absurd wait time. In January, for example, they had to wait 999 days for an interview at the Mumbai embassy.