Washington: Several powerful US Senators have joined hands to introduce a legislation in the Senate on a comprehensive visa reform which, if enacted into law, would facilitate visitors and business visas within three days.
The bill also calls for setting up mobile visa units in cities with more than one million population that does not have a US diplomatic mission, either Embassy and Consulate.
The Jobs Originated through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act aims at reforming outdated visa laws to cut through red tape that has caused a lag in foreign travel to the US.
The act was sponsored and co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Mikulski, Charles Schumer, Mike Lee, Amy Klobuchar, Marco Rubio, Roy Blunt and Mark Kirk.
The Act, introduced in the Senate, requires the US Secretary of State to develop "premium processing" for B-1 and B-2 visas (tourist and business travel visas).
Under premium processing, unless compelling security concerns exist, a visa will be issued within three business days from the date it is requested.
This section also authorises the State Department to charge a fee sufficient to recover the costs of premium processing and to recover costs that will increase capacity to more quickly process B-1 and B-2 visas in India, China, and Brazil through the use of: (1) technology; and (2) creation of "mobile interview units" to process visa applications and to conduct visa interviews in cities of over 1,000,000 people with no US embassy or consulate.
This will ultimately lead to faster processing of all visa applications, the Act says. It also calls for issuing visas to Chinese nationals for longer duration.
First Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 10:31