US visa application rates in line with president’s target

- Posted in America by Visa Bureauon 19 April 2012

In January, President Obama gave the State Department 60 days to reform US visa application processes from applications from China and Brazil in order to boost tourism. While worldwide tourism has increased significantly in the past decade, rates in America have remained almost constant.

President Obama promised to relax US immigration legislation to allow more tourists to visit the US. The country is often ranked number one in many nationalities' lists of 'dream destinations' yet most have typically opted to go to other countries such as France and Italy where visa applications had much shorter processing times.

Now however, US visa processing times have been reduced as little as 10 days and the American government has opened more consulate offices in Brazil and China which are now starting to take effect.

Recent figures from the State Department reveal Chinese citizens received more than 450,000 tourist visas in the first half of the current fiscal year, a 46% increase on the previous year.

President Obama said in January boosting tourism could generate as much as $850 billion (£540 billion) as well as a million jobs for the US by 2020.

China is quickly becoming America's leading source of tourism and more changes are still to be made. The State Department confirmed 'consular adjudicators' with competent Mandarin skills had been sent to consulates on the Chinese mainland to assist Foreign Service Employees.

The State Department also reported visa applications from Brazilian tourists had increased almost 60% on the previous year with over half a million applications in the first half of fiscal 2012.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries make their ESTA application.