US makes efforts to enhance visa: Harty

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Kolkata, Oct 11 (UNI) The US Department of State is making efforts to enhance visa and consular services in India in response to an increasing demand for travel to the United States, US Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Maura Harty said today.

Addressing mediapersons here, Ms Harty said new consular initiatives would reduce the waiting time for visa interviews, improve the visa application process and support the relation between the two countries.

Ms Harty said India is second to Mexico among all the countries for the US visa and informed that 4,59,500 non-immigrant visa applications and over 30,000 immigrant visas were processed during last year.

'' We expect to receive 7,30,000 general visa applications from India this year and we have already received 49,600 student visa applications,'' she observed.

Ms Harty said the new Consulate General building in Mumbai would be ready by next year while the new Consulate General in Hyderabad would become operational in late 2008.

Ms Harty, during her two-days visit to the city, is scheduled to meet State Commerce and Industries Minister Nirupam Sen to discuss economic growth in West Bengal.

She will also hold meetings with business leaders and interact with students seeking to study in the US.

UNI

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