Planning a trip to US this summer, apply early for visas: American embassy

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NEW DELHI: If you are planning a trip to the US this summer holiday season, apply for the visas well in advance. The US Embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday has “recommended” this due to “heavy demand” due to which the wait for a visa interview could be as long as a month or more.

“At this time, applicants across India may wait 30 days or more for a visa interview appointment to become available and the embassy expects this wait time to continue for at least the next few months. Mission India’s nonimmigrant visa workload is one of the largest in the world, processing over a million visas a year. In the last five years, the demand for visas to travel to the United States has increased by over 60%,” the US embassy said in a statement.

Indian visitors have emerged among the top overseas spenders in the US and Uncle Sam is now pulling all stops to attract more tourists from the country. According to Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the country, 11.7 lakh Indian visitors went to the US in 2016 which was an increase of 4% from the previous year. In 2016, India was the 11th source market for visitors for the US. “In 2016, $13.4 billion was spent by Indians and was ranked sixth in terms of spending… In 2015, for instance, 11.1 lakh visitors went there from India and collectively spent $12 billion,” Brand USA had recently told TOI.

The number of Indian visitors to the US last year is awaited, while the number in January to June 2017 was 5.5 lakh.

“The US Embassy and our four Consulates are constantly working to improve service and meet demand, but applicants should be aware that the summer is a peak travel season and there will be delays in getting visa appointments. Travelers should apply early to avoid potential delays. Applicants are also reminded to beware of scams and fraud. The only way to get a US visa is through official channels,” the US Embassy statement of Tuesday added.

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