Travel agents request for more interview slots in Telugu

Representatives of tourism and travel agencies have requested the US Consulate General officials here to increase the number of interview slots in Telugu as the demand for it has been on the rise.

At an interactive session organised by the Hyderabad branch of SKAL International, a professional body of tourism and travel agencies, here on Tuesday, officials of the US Consulate General gave an in-depth insight into the application process for B-1 (business) and B-2 (travel) visas.

Vice-Consuls Jeremy Jewett and Elvin John and Non-Immigration Visa team leader Bakhtavar Katrak cleared visa-related doubts.

Mr. Jewett said that about 2.59 lakh B-1/B-2 visas were issued by the US Consulates in India in 2010. They were issuing the two categories of visas with 10-years validity, and given for 20 years in some cases, for elders, and with five-year validity for children below 13 years.

Out of the over 500 interviews that are conducted by the Consulate here every day, about 200 are in Telugu, Hindi and Urdu. About the specific demand for more interview slots in Telugu, Mr. Jewett said they would consider it positively . He ruled out the possibility of advance booking of interview slots beyond six weeks due to the existing norms. The Consulate officials explained that basic requirement for applying for US B-1/B-2 visa was having a passport, preferably with more than six months' validity. They would also reject damaged passports as the details of the visa applicant would not be clear on them. Persons over 80 years of age would be exempted from interviews, they noted.