High priority for student visas, says Vice-Consul
The U.S. Consulate in Chennai was ranked among the top globally in issuing ‘L' and ‘H' category visas for workers and professionals, reflecting the rapid progress of Information Technology sector in south India, said Aaron Benesh, Vice-Consul for the United States Consulate General in Chennai.
The Chennai Consulate General was ranked eighth globally in terms of all category of visas being issued, along with the ones in Mumbai and New Delhi coming within the top 10 globally in the volume of visas. The quota for ‘H' visa — for professional workers — was fixed by the U.S. Congress every year, he said, adding that the present limit was around 68,000. Visa applications had increased recently, he said.
Student visa applicants had to satisfy the visa officer that they had made background research while choosing an educational institution in the U.S. and that they were qualified to pursue that course. The academic history of the student was also scrutinised. “We give high priority to student visas in view of the limited time available and try to dispose them at the earliest,” he said. The primary factor that a U.S. officer looks in a visa applicant during an interview is whether he has a credible reason to visit the U.S., if he is qualified for the category of the visa applied, and can the applicant financially support himself during the course of stay. The Chennai Consulate General processes 900 applications a day of which around 500 to 600 were ‘B1' and ‘B2' visas for temporary stay in the U.S. Around 90 per cent of the applicants had their entire processing work finished in an hour, he said.
Mr. Benesh said that the Chennai Consulate General had a visa approval rate of 85 per cent. The rate could vary across different categories of visas, and the time taken to process them.
He was in Madurai to address a guidance session on U.S. visa, organised here on Thursday by the Madurai branch of Indo-American Chamber of Commerce. Established in 1968, the forum is a non-governmental and industry-managed organisation that provides a link between the business communities of India and the U.S.