Karachi—US Consulate Karachi’s Consular Section opened its doors to members of the media to showcase its visa operations. The tour was designed to provide greater information to Pakistanis about US visa operations and procedures.
“We want to give all visa applicants fast, friendly and fair interviews,” said Non-immigrant Visa Chief Mary Pellegrini, “so legitimate travellers can go to the United States, while still ensuring that we protect US citizens and visitors.”
Currently, it takes one day on average to get a visa appointment and most visas are processed and returned to applicants within 48 hours.
The consular officers ask questions at interviews to evaluate eligibility under US immigration law. So far in 2016, Consulate General Karachi has issued more than 14,000 visas to tourists, students, business travellers, and workers.
In 2015, Mission Pakistan (Embassy Islamabad and Consulate Karachi) issued a total of 72,000 such visas; 64,000 were issued in 2014.
There is no limit on the number of visitor, student or business (non-immigrant) visas that can be issued, unlike immigrant visas where there is a yearly quota. Last year, 14,400 Pakistanis immigrated to the United States and 104,000 have gained American citizenship in the past 10 years.
Because of these high immigration levels, Pakistanis are no longer eligible for diversity visas, which are granted to only those nations with historically low rates of immigration. US Consulate Karachi, therefore, cautioned against sending money to those claiming to be able to provide such visas.
According to Ms. Pellegrini, consular officers speak English and Urdu and interpretation services for many other languages, such as Sindhi, Punjabi and Pashto, are also available.