US visa applications sharply rise in China

WASHINGTON – The number of applications for US visas that were processed in China and Brazil in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2012 increased more than 50 percent from the same period last year, the US State Department said Thursday.

In China, US consular officers adjudicated nearly 260,000 visas in China in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012, which lasted from October to December 2011, compared to 175,000 in the same period in fiscal 2011, an increase of 48 percent.

In Brazil, nearly 280,000 visas were processed in the period, compared to 171,000 in fiscal 2011, an increase of 63 percent, the department said in a statement.

The sharp increase in visa processing resulted from the initiatives taken by the State Department to greatly reduce the wait time for visa interview in China and Brazil, two of the fast-growing economies in the world.

In China, visa interview wait times have been reduced to only two days at any of five US visa-processing posts. In Brazil, wait times have been reduced to 15 days in Rio de Janeiro and six days in Brasilia, the capital city.

To meet increasing demand for US visas, the US State Department is deploying additional personnel, expanding visa sections, and utilizing new systems and technologies to facilitate legitimate travel without compromising national security.

As visitors from China and Brazil represent a growing market for travel and tourism to the United States, the remarkable growth in visa processing signals good news for the US economy, the statement said.

Every additional 65 international visitors to the US generate enough exports to support an additional travel and tourism-related job, the statement said.

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