As part of the Biden administration's effort to strengthen people-to-people connections with india, the united states awarded over 140,000 visas to indian students last year and is taking multiple initiatives to shorten visa appointment wait times. Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, told PTI that US missions in india worked six to seven days a week to ensure that students could be vetted before courses began. This year, the US made a concerted effort to focus on demand from india, she added.

"We are extremely proud of what we accomplished in india this year." For the first time in history, I believe we established a target of issuing one million visas in india, and we not only met that goal, but we did it many months ahead of schedule. As a result, the figure will well exceed that.

"There are record-setting numbers this year for workers, crew members and students applying in india to come to the united states," she said.

"We specifically made sure that we saw the students who were applying coming out of india," Stufft added. india is presently the most important source country for international students in the united states, as well as many other visa categories. That is really essential to us. We've also got a number of situations where the interview was waived, so no interview for indian passengers who had previously gone and are now returning to the United States."

According to her, the US awarded a record number of visas to indian students last year.

"The most important thing for students applying in india is that the missions there have worked six, seven days a week to interview students to ensure that everyone can be interviewed before their classes begin." The visa procedure reflects the amount of effort and priority we focus on indian students coming to the United States. "We want to make sure that everyone has that opportunity," she stated.

According to Stufft, the US is working on many methods to minimize the visa appointment wait time in india, which is still rather long.

"I'm hoping it'll be (coming down) this year, which means this fiscal year for us." We are, however, deploying a large number of officials to india to control the wait time and to relocate them across the nation as needed. "I mean, it's gotten a lot better, but it still needs to come down a lot," she explained.

"We recently had a state visit. Everyone, from the president to Ambassador (Eric) Garcetti and the secretary of state, is working hard to strengthen people-to-people relations between our two nations. That is what we are doing with the visa procedure. So, in the future, we expect further improvements and a lot faster procedure," Stufft told PTI.



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