Consular Officers at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and four US consulates general in the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang have processed more than one million visa applications in fiscal year 2012 while reducing the wait time for a visa interview appointment to approximately one week.
This extraordinary accomplishment represents visa processing growth of almost 43% over the same period last fiscal year, when just over 675,000 visa applications were processed in China, the US State Department said in a press release.
To achieve this, the State Department increased staff, improved workflow, implemented a new pilot program waiving the in-person interview requirement in certain instances, and undertook other changes to its procedures - without compromising border security.
The State Department said it is implementing permanent solutions to keep it ahead of the growing visa demand for years to come. During a June trip to China, the Department's top consular official, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Janice Jacobs, cut the ribbon on a reopened annex to US Embassy in Beijing, greatly increasing visa interview capacity.
China is not the only place where the State Department has achieved great success in meeting dramatic increases in visa demand. In Brazil, it processed almost 44% more visa applications so far in FY 2012 than it did during the same period last year. 36% more visa applications were processed in Mexico. China and Mexico are the only two U.S. Missions that process more than one million visa applications each year, although Brazil is on track to become the third.
"The accomplishments announced on Thursday reflect the Obama Administration's commitment towards increasing U.S. jobs by encouraging more people to visit our country," the State Department said.
by RTT Staff Writer
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