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US simplifies visa procedure to attract more Indians

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Washington, DC: According to US estimates, the number of people visiting the country from India every year would cross the one million mark by 2015. Understandably, the US consulates are working overtime to simplify the procedure of procuring a US visa in India.

An official statement issued by the American embassy said: “This is not just because of America’s welcoming atmosphere and outstanding sights. It is also because Indians and Americans are finding more in common. Our personal and cultural ties are increasing dramatically and trade between our two countries is following the same trajectory.”

To reinforce this connection, the statement quoted US Ambassador Nancy J. Powell as saying, “Travel and tourism to the US is an important way for us to expand our cultural and commercial ties and increase trade growth between our countries. But the most important aspect of travel and tourism is not the dollar figures, but the person-to-person relationships that are cultivated.”

In 2011, the United States welcomed over 660,000 visitors from India, a new record.

“In order to help more Indians, who are eligible to visit the United States, our Consular office continues to improve its services,” the statement said.

Recent innovations include offering Indians the choice of paying and making visa interview appointments online, an interview waiver program for select visa applicants, offsite biometric collection, and a Web site for checking visa application status.