Budget Cuts Could Effect Visa Wait Times

Natives of India, China and Brazil can expect an increase in the wait time to receive a visitor visa to the United States as impending spending cuts have raised concerns among some U.S. officials. The upcoming sequestration on March 1 will cut all State Department budgets, according to Patrick Ventrell , State Department spokesman, who talked to a group of reporters on February 27. One India News reported that the budget cuts will equal $85 billion in 2013 and $1.2 trillion through 2021.

The United States has had an influx of hiring new consulate officers to accommodate the high volume of individuals who want to come to the country for the first time. This has decreased the wait time for individuals in India, Brazil and China from hundreds of days to only several, which took a lot of effort to make possible, according to Ventrell.

“It is impossible to say exactly how it would impact in each individual country,” Ventrell said. “And indeed, as we get closer to this, I’ll see what more I can provide for you on sequester would impact this Department, but there’s no doubt in my mind and those who look at this closely that one of the areas that there’ll be an impact on, obviously, is our ability provide consular services.”

People traveling to the United States from these countries help improve the economy significantly, and officials are concerned the budget cuts will create major setbacks in the effort it took to drastically reduce the wait times. In 2011, a deal to increase the debt limit in the U.S. is expected to make it challenging for Congress to take action against the mounting debt. White House officials plan to meet on March 1 to produce a deal to avoid the cuts.