US sees huge increase in visa applications in Brazil and China

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The U.S. State Department announced Monday they will significantly increase the number of US Embassy visa officials in Brazil and China over the next year, citing a surge in demand for US visas in these countries.

The department will add at least 100 more visa officials in China and Brazil, who experienced a 34 percent and 42 percent increase, respectively, in visa applications last year.

"Over the past year we've seen an unprecedented rise in visa demand in emerging economies such as China and Brazil," according to the acting deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs Edward Ramotowski.

He stated the departments goal was to process more than 2.2 million applications for visas in China and 1.8 million applications for visas in Brazil by 2013.

Chuck Bennett, the minister counselor for consular affairs at the US embassy in Beijing, said, in the last fiscal year, the US has processed more than one million US visas for Chinese applicants. Additionally, Donald Jacobson, minister of consular affairs at the US embassy in Brazil said the US processed more than 820,000 visa applications in Brazil in the last fiscal year.

"When it comes to visas, though, our job is to protect America's borders while putting out the welcome mat for visitors to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, buy American products and enjoy all the wonders of our great country," said Ramotowski.

Visa demand has increased in China and Brazil due to their growing economies and increase prosperity. According to Jacobson, visa demand increased in Brazil as the country experienced strong economic growth and the rise of its currency against the dollar. Bennett said China's growing middle class showed an increased interest in foreign travel.

The staff expansion could result in approximately 1 million more visas processed annually in each country. Tourism promoters have been pushing the federal government to address visa-processing delays, especially in Brazil, saying difficulty obtaining permission to visit the U.S. deters tourists and hurts the U.S. economy.

The US has two different types of visit visas available to tourists - B1 and B2. The US B1 visa is intended for temporary business travel, including travel for negotiating contracts, attending exhibitions and conferences, short-term training, and consultations with suppliers and customers. The US B2 visa is intended for tourist activities, such as sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, obtaining medical treatment, etc. The B1 and B2 visa are not valid for employment in the US. In practice you will normally be issued a combined B-1/B-2 visitor visa.

"It's important to note that security remains our top priority, and we see every visa decision as a national security decision. But we also recognize th international travel is important to the U.S. economy, to jobs and opportunity, and our vital national interests," added Ramotowski. has been dealing with visa applications for over twenty years. We have an in-house US immigration attorney and would be delighted to have an opportunity to help you with your visa application. Please feel free to contact us for further details.