Diaspora Group launches online petition urging Anthony Blinken to reduce US visa wait times

A US-based diaspora group has launched an online petition campaign urging US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to reduce the long waiting list for various types of US visas issued from India.

The Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) has launched a petition campaign on change.org, a non-profit petition website, highlighting the contrast in wait times at US consulates in China for visa appointments.

“We call on the Department of State, Secretary of State Mr. Anthony Blinken, and the United States Embassies in India to eliminate wait times for visa appointments in India. Even after a two-year Covid-era hiatus in visa appointments at US embassies in India, the visa appointment situation is far from normal, requiring 300-900 working days. wait depending on the types of visas,” said FIIDS when launching its online petition campaign.

According to travel.state.gov reports as of October 31, there is an average wait time of over 900 days for visitor visa (B1/B2) appointments, an average wait time of 400 days for students (F, M, J) and an average waiting time of 300 days for temporary workers based on petitions like H, L, O, P and Q at US Consulates in India (Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata), he said.

In contrast, US consulates in China only have an average wait time of three days, FIIDS said.

“The 900+ day delay deprives American Indians and Indian immigrants to the United States of having loved ones to visit, whether in times of hardship, need or celebration, affecting their quality of life” , did he declare.

“The 400-plus-day wait time affects students joining US universities, which not only impacts students’ futures, but also negatively impacts US universities,” FIIDS said, adding that the waiting time of more than 300 days is impacting the productivity and success of various industries and businesses due to the lack of skilled workers.

The online petition has already received at least 1,100 signatures on Wednesday.

“We urge the US State Department and Sec Blinken to address this issue. We believe this is not only important to American interests, but the right thing to do for moral and compassionate reasons,” FIIDS said in its Change.Org petition.

“According to Reuters information on September 27, the Secretary of State blamed lack of resources and funding due to loss of revenue from fees for this ‘self-funded program,’” the petition reads.

“We call on the authorities concerned to take all necessary measures and seek emergency funds to resolve this backlog. We look forward to helping in any way we can and will forge a coalition of individuals who will seize the opportunity to help alleviate this problem,” he added.

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