More than 1.5 lakh Indians have visited The United States so far in 2023, the US department of commerce’s International Trade Administration data showed.
Indians were the second largest overseas visitors to America, next only to the UK, during this peak summer travel month of June — despite sky-high airfares and visa processing backlog.
According to the data, international visitor arrivals to the country in June 2023 was 49.9 lakh, almost a quarter more than the same month last year. The top two countries for inbound visitors were Canada and Mexico with which the US shares a land border.
“The largest number of international visitor arrivals was from Canada (13.5 lakh), Mexico (10.9 lahks), UK (2.7 lakh), India (1.7 lakh) and Germany (1.3 lakh). Combined, these top five source markets accounted for 61% of total international arrivals,” ITA said for inbound to the country this June.
Anil Kalsi, VP of Travel Agents’ Federation of India, told TOI that: “The demand for travel to the US is tremendous because of a number of factors like visiting friends and relatives (VFR), students, parents going to visit children and business. Most flights are going at high load factors. Premium cabins are all taken by business class and senior citizens and they get filled very fast after Covid due to a change in travel habits of the affluent.”
“We hope things get better for first time applicants. The travel industry will take it up with the new US ambassador to India,” Kalsi said.The US Embassy in India on Wednesday advised people that who have paid visa application to check their receipts and schedule an interview if they haven’t done so already.
“Check your receipt! If you paid your visa application fee before October 1, 2022, and have not scheduled an interview yet, book now,” the embassy said on X (formerly Twitter).
“Visa applicants typically have 365 days from the date of payment to schedule an appointment before the payment expires. Certain extensions were granted during the Covid-19 pandemic, but these extensions expire on September 30. If you paid your fee prior to October 1, 2022, you must schedule an interview (or submit your interview waiver application, if you are eligible) before September 30, 2023. If you don’t, you may have to pay the fee again! The interview itself does NOT need to take place before September 30, 2023, but an appointment must be scheduled in the system, even if it is for months into the future,” it added.In August, US Consulate General Mumbai in a statement released said that it has eliminated the visa backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and said that the applicants can now schedule their appointments for immigrant visa interviews within the standard time frame.