Biden instructed me to shorten the Indian visa application process: US envoy Garcetti

Eric Garcetti, the US Ambassador to India, revealed that President Joe Biden instructed him to reduce the wait time for American visas in India, marking the first instance of a US president giving such a directive to an ambassador in any country. Currently, the wait time for a US visa in India stands at 250 days.

Garcetti attributed part of the visa backlog issue to laws enacted by the US Congress, emphasizing the need for Congress to address issues related to legal immigration, green cards, and citizenship.

Despite the challenges posed by legislative constraints, there has been a significant reduction in visa waiting times, with a 60% increase in the issuance of visas in India over the past year. However, Garcetti acknowledged that the remaining 250-day waiting period is still too long and expressed President Biden's directive to bring it down.

While discussing the visa waiting time, Garcetti highlighted that the average waiting period is already below 200 days for most applicants. He also mentioned President Biden's unprecedented focus on reducing visa wait times, reflecting the administration's commitment to addressing the concerns of Indian applicants.

Furthermore, Garcetti noted the record influx of Indian students to the US for higher education, with a 35% increase reaching an all-time high of 268,923 students in the 2022-23 academic year. This surge underscores the growing educational ties between the two countries.

To enhance diplomatic relations, Garcetti mentioned the opening of two consulates in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, aiming to increase diplomatic engagement and representation in India. He also expressed efforts to increase staff levels to better serve diplomatic functions in the region.

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