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April 24, 2024

‘Welcome More Indians…’: US Ambassador Addresses Questions On Visa and Green Card Delays

Last Updated: April 01, 2024, 13:54 IST

US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, spoke about the US visa appointment and Green Card delays during a podcast with ANI.

US Ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti, spoke about the US visa appointment and Green Card delays during a podcast with ANI.

US Ambassador Eric Garcetti discusses President Biden’s directive to reduce visa wait times for India. Insights on consulates, green cards, and legislative hurdles

US President Joe Biden has personally asked the country’s Ambassador in New Delhi to bring down the visa wait time for India, said envoy Eric Garcetti himself in a podcast, adding that this is a “huge priority” for the American government.

“I don’t think presidents even focus on visa wait times. But we all have so many Indian friends who are saying, ‘Why is this taking so long?’ That it even went up to the president. The reality of 250 is that it is an average. And I think the typical person is actually under 200 days already,” Garcetti said during a podcast with ANI in response to the 250-day wait for visa appointments despite the recent reduction in wait time.

The US ambassador said that there are several things that the country is doing to address the visa concern, including the opening of new consulates. “We’ve talked about opening two new consulates in the near future. One in Bangaluru, and another one that will be in Ahmedabad. Two, we’re working with the Ministry of External Affairs to put more bodies in India, and they’ve been very responsive and helpful.” “Third, we are shipping it out,” he said, adding the US councilors, who don’t have enough work in their countries, are working on Indian visas.

Green Cards

When asked about the long backlog of Green Cards for Indians, the US Ambassador said, “Part of this is a legislative problem that Congress will have to address on whether it’s the number of legal immigrants, the number of green cards, or the number of people who can become citizens.”

He said there are just limits to how many Green Cards can issued. “Like any country, I’m sure there are limits here, too. And that is frustrating for Indians, I think because there are so many Indians who want to come to America. And that’s a great part of our news, by the way. Second only to Mexicans, where Indian visas last year, the biggest number of students, double the second biggest.”

‘Welcome More Indians’

The US Ambassador said there are a lot of Indians who want to come to the US, which he described as a “good problem” to have. “Last year, over 2,45,000 student visas came from India. Number one in adoptions, number one in all these categories that show 1.4 billion people, a lot of them would love to come to America. And so it’s a good problem to have,” he added. But Ambassador Garcetti added that a couple of things were changing.

“We’ve here in not just Delhi, but across India, increased 60 percent in a single year with the same number of people, the number of visas that we adjudicated, and brought down wait times by 75 percent,” he said. “I certainly would love to see the ability for us to welcome more Indian immigrants legally and more Green Card holders,” he added. He said the US needs the Indian workforce which has been beneficial in the American healthcare and tech sectors.

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