A US-based diaspora group has launched an online petition campaign urging US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to reduce the long waitlist for various types of American visas being issued from India.
Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) has started a petition campaign on change.org, a non-profit petition website, highlighting the contrast in wait times at the US consulates in China for visa appointments.
“We request the State Department, Secretary of State Mr Anthony Blinken and the US embassies in India to eliminate wait times for visa appointments in India. Even after a two-year-long Covid-era pause in visa appointments at the US embassies in India, the visa appointment situation is far from normal, requiring 300 to 900 days of wait time based on the visa types,” FIIDS said launching its online petition campaign.
As per travel.state.gov reports on October 31, there is an average 900+ days’ wait time for appointments for visitors’ visa (B1/B2), an average 400 days’ wait time for students (F, M, J) and an average 300 days’ wait time for petition-based temp workers like H, L, O, P and Q across the USA consulates in India (Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata), it said.
In contrast, the US consulates in China only have an average three days’ wait time, FIIDS said.
“The 900+ days’ delay deprives Indian Americans and Indian immigrants in the USA of having their beloved relatives to visit, whether in the time of difficulties, needs, or for celebrations, impacting their quality of life,” it said.
“The 400+ days’ wait time affects students joining the US universities, that not only impacts students’ future but also negatively impacts the US universities,” FIIDS said, adding, the 300+ days’ wait time is impacting productivity and success of various industries and businesses due to lack of skilled workers.
The online petition has already received at least 1,100 signatures on Wednesday.
“We urge the US State Department and Sec Blinken to resolve this issue. We believe it is not only important for US interests but the right thing to do on moral and compassionate grounds,” FIIDS said in its petition on Change.Org.
“As per Reuters news on 27th Sept, the Secretary of State blamed the lack of resources and funding due to lost revenues from fees on this ‘self-financed program,’” the petition said.
“We request the concerned authorities to take all necessary steps and to seek emergency funds to resolve this backlog. We are eager to assist in any way possible and will forge a coalition of individuals who will rise to the occasion to assist in mitigating this issue,” it added.
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