US embassy working to cut visa appointment time for Pakistanis
By News Desk
September 20, 2023 12:44 PM
The United States Embassy in Islamabad has said that it was taking measures to bring down the visa appointment wait time for Pakistanis while the demand for US visas was the highest it had ever been.
In a statement uploaded on X, formerly known as Twitter, the US Embassy said “More than 10,000 Pakistani visa applicants originally scheduled for 2024 at the US Consulate General in Karachi are now receiving notices that their appointments have been rescheduled in 2023, some as early as next week.”
The Embassy further said that it was expediting thousands of non-immigrant visa appointments as the first measure to meet “unprecedented demand”.
Jayne Howell, the head of US visa operations in Pakistan, said the move would reduce wait time by three to six months.
The US Mission advised applicants that if they had a visa appointment in the next few months at the US Consulate General in Karachi, they could check their e-mails and log in to their accounts at the embassy’s website to confirm their expedited appointment time.
Moreover, it said to create added flexibility for Pakistani travellers, visa applicants could rebook appointments, at either the Consulate General in Karachi or the US Embassy in Islamabad.
The embassy hoped that this would allow applicants “more freedom and flexibility to find a convenient date, time and location”.
Expedited visa appointments for thousands
The most immediate relief for visa applicants is the expedited processing of appointments. More than 10,000 Pakistani visa applicants originally scheduled for 2024 at the US Consulate General in Karachi will receive notifications that their appointments have been rescheduled to 2023, with some appointments available as early as next week.
This rescheduling is aimed at reducing the backlog of visa appointments and expediting the visa application process for thousands of Pakistani citizens.
Applicants who currently have visa appointments scheduled for the upcoming months at the US Consulate General in Karachi are encouraged to check their email and log in to their accounts on the official website, ustraveldocs.com/pk, to confirm their newly expedited appointment times.
Enhanced flexibility with dual location scheduling
In a bid to provide more flexibility to Pakistani travellers, visa applicants will now have the option to reschedule their appointments at either the US Consulate General in Karachi or the US Embassy in Islamabad, depending on what suits their needs best. This dual location scheduling aims to empower applicants to find a convenient date, time, and location for their visa interviews.
This flexibility is anticipated to reduce the pressure on both facilities and make the visa application process more accessible to applicants from across Pakistan.
Interview waiver applications now accepted
Starting September 25, 2023, the US Consulate General in Karachi will begin accepting new interview waiver applications for eligible applicants who have previously been issued US visas.
Applicants can check their eligibility on ustraveldocs.com/pk, print out a confirmation letter, and submit their application materials to a designated drop box without the need for an in-person appointment. It's worth noting that the US Embassy in Islamabad is already accepting interview waiver applications for qualified candidates.
These initiatives collectively underscore the United States' commitment to fostering the strong relationship between the two countries. The primary goal of these measures is to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States as quickly and efficiently as possible, recognising the importance of maintaining connections with family, strengthening business ties, pursuing educational opportunities, and fostering cultural exchanges between Pakistan and the United States.