The United States has processed more visa applications in 2023 than in any previous year. The embassy anticipates a continuous surge in visa processing in the coming weeks due to the busy holiday travel season.
“It’s official! As of this month, our India team processed more visa applications in 2023 than in any previous year. And we aren’t done yet! We'll be serving thousands of students, workers, tourists, and more in the coming weeks just in time for the busy holiday travel season. Safe travels to all of our applicants and congrats to the Consular Team,” said the US Embassy in India in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
The announcement was made on the same day as US Ambassador in India Eric Garcetti revealed plans to increase embassy staff and open new consulates, including one in Ahmedabad, to reduce visa waiting times for Indian applicants.
"I had a look at the new premises for establishing a consulate in Ahmedabad yesterday. Some more people have already joined the Hyderabad consulate as we are increasing the staff strength in the city and premises are being taken up in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad for setting up new consulates,” said Garcetti in an interactive session organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), according to PTI report.
Long delays in the US Visa process due to the high volume of applications have been a challenge for Indian students and professionals.
According to Garcetti, the number of US visas being issued in India had increased by one-third in recent weeks and the embassy was likely to issue 10-15 per cent more visas than usual in the current calendar year.
Notably, the student enrollment from India to the US reached an all-time high of 2.8 lakh in 2022-23, surpassing the pre-pandemic level. Indian student enrollment was the second-largest, after China, accounting for over 25 per cent of the 1 million international students enrolled this year.
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The Open Doors 2023 report by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE) revealed that 268,923 Indian students went to the US in 2022-23, an increase of 35 per cent year-over-year, compared to 199,182 students in 2021-22.