Bipartisan Senate Bill Could Shorten US Visa Wait Times

Earlier this month, US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) introduced the Visa Processing Improvement Act, aimed at reducing the significant delays currently faced by international tourists and temporary workers applying for US visas.

On average, US visa appointment wait times at consulates are currently over one year. The Visa Processing Improvement Act is designed to lessen these wait times in a few different ways.

For one, it would require the US Department of State to set goals for visa wait times, and take corrective action for consulates and other entities that do not meet those goals. In addition, the act would grant the State Department with the authority to waive many US visa interviews for those who are deemed low-risk or have already been vetted.

Finally, the act could result in the creation of a pilot program that allows certain individuals to attend video interviews rather than in-person visa interviews, as well as the ability to extend their visas from within the USA.

According to Moran, “Ongoing delays in visa processing are negatively impacting businesses, universities and families across Kansas and our country. This straightforward, sensible bill will hold the State Department accountable for the current long wait times required to receive a visitor visa and improve the Visa Processing System for certain applicants.”

Klobuchar added, “Our bill will help address backlogs and get people flying faster by increasing staff and improving service at U.S. consulates and embassies, which will bring more international travelers to attractions, restaurants, and hotels across Minnesota and the entire country.”

While this is likely excellent news for any prospective US visa applicant, it of course still must pass the Senate and be signed into law, which means it is of no immediate help for those who are already in seemingly endless queues for a US visa.

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