The United States Mission to Pakistan on Tuesday said 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.
“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 US embassy in Islamabad said in a statement, adding 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”.
Lastly, it said that beginning from September 25, the Consulate-General would begin accepting new interview waiver applications for some applicants who were previously issued US visas. Applicants could check ustraveldocs.com/pk to determine whether they were eligible, print out a confirmation letter and submit their application materials to a drop box without the need for an appointment, it added.
The mission said the US Embassy was already accepting interview waiver applications for qualified applicants.
“Taken together, these steps demonstrate how deeply the United States values the relationship between our two countries.
“Our goal is to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States as quickly and efficiently as possible — because we know how important it is to stay connected with family, to strengthen business ties, study, and make cultural connections with the United States,” it said.