Last year over 1.2 million Indians visited the United States.
The US Mission to India on Thursday surpassed its goal to process one million non-immigrant visa applications this year with Ambassador Eric Garcetti personally handing over the one millionth visa to a couple, who will be heading to the United States to attend their son's graduation at MIT.
Dr Ranju Singh, senior consultant, Lady Hardinge College was elated at receiving an email from the US Embassy about hers being the one millionth visa this year. Her husband Puneet Dargan, was granted the next visa. The couple will be travelling to the US in May, 2024.
Greeting the couple as "Mr and Mrs One million", Ambassador Garcetti enquired about their travel plans to the US and made suggestions about what not to miss in the country as a tourist.
"I couldn't be happier today, happy for India, Indians and the United States. Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and President (Joe) Biden had said lets do a better job in moving faster on the visas and so the Ministry of External Affairs here approved more bodies in places like Hyderabad...more people who can work on these visas, we changed our systems, we worked harder and smarter and we hit a million visa applications processed this year," the ambassador said.
"Our partnership with India is one of the United States' most important bilateral relationships, and in fact one of the most important relationships in the world. The ties between our people are stronger than ever, and we will continue our record-setting volume of visa work in the coming months to give as many Indian applicants as possible the opportunity to travel to the United States and experience the US-India friendship firsthand," he added.
The Mission has already surpassed the total number of cases processed in 2022 and is processing almost 20 per cent more applications than in pre-pandemic 2019.
"We got an email after we had finished our visa interviews that we are supposed to collect our visas, we were told that we were the one millionth...the Ambassador meeting us in person was a great moment for us. We are looking forward to going to the US, we will be there at MIT to celebrate our son's proud day and then explore the country as tourists," Dr Singh told PTI.
Dargan informed that their son is currently pursuing his Masters in Financial Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"This will be our first trip to the US. We are really looking forward to it," he said.
Last year over 1.2 million Indians visited the United States. Indians now represent over 10 per cent of all visa applicants worldwide, including 20 per cent of all student visa applicants and 65 per cent of all H&L-category (employment) visa applicants.
According to a statement by the US Embassy here, recognising the continued high demand for US visas, the United States continues to invest heavily in our operations in India.
"In the past year, the Mission has expanded its staffing to facilitate more visa processing than ever before. The Mission has made significant capital improvements to existing facilities, such as the US Consulate in Chennai, and has inaugurated a new Consulate building in Hyderabad.
"The Mission has also implemented strategies to increase efficiency, extending interview waiver eligibility to new visa categories and utilising remote work to allow staff around the world to contribute to Indian visa processing. Early next year, the Mission plans to implement a pilot program that would allow domestic visa renewal for qualified H&L-category employment visa applicants," it said.
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