US Consulate increases US visa processing facilities in Shanghai

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The US Consulate General in Shanghai is increasing in size in order to deal with the rapidly increasing number of US visa applications it processes. In 2011, US consular officers in China had processed more than 1 million non-immigrant visa applications, 30 percent of them in Shanghai. These visa applications are mainly from Chinese citizens wishing to visit the US on B-1/B-2 visit visas.

"We recently signed a lease to expand our consular facility by increasing the number of interview windows from nine to 20. Then we can interview more applicants on a daily basis," said Robert Griffiths, US consul-general in Shanghai.

The Shanghai consulate is one of the busiest in China, receiving applications mainly from the city and neighboring provinces, including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui. In addition to the US Embassy in Beijing, there are US Consulates in China located in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, and Chengdu.

Since February 2004, the US Consulate in Shanghai has issued more than 1 million non-immigrant visas with a current approval rate of 90 percent. To facilitate the processing of the increasing number of US visa applications throughout China, 50 more staff positions will be added to the consulates starting in spring.

"The expansion of the Shanghai office will at least double the current ability to handle visa applications, and more staff will be recruited to facilitate growth, especially during peak seasons, like summer," said Wylita Bell, information officer and spokeswoman for the US Consulate General in Shanghai.

All US visa applicants are encouraged to apply for an appointment for a visa at least a month in advance, and about three months in advance if they wish to travel between April and June.

"We encourage applicants to plan ahead, apply well in advance of intended travel, and for those applicants renewing a current or recently expired US non-immigrant visa, they should use the drop-box, which is a convenient way to submit a visa application through the mail and often does not require an interview," Griffiths said.

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