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Proposed Legislation Seeks to Address Delays in Visa Processing

The bill aims to further streamline the visa processing system

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Jerry Moran have introduced the Visa Processing Improvement Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at addressing the prolonged delays in visa processing. These delays have left some individuals waiting for an interview for more than two years due to extended wait times from pandemic-related restrictions that hindered in-person visa applicant interviews at embassies and consulates.

The proposed legislation seeks to hold the State Department accountable by setting goals for interview wait times and allocating resources to embassies and consulates that fail to meet these goals. It also introduces the option for video conference interviews for pre-vetted and “low-risk” applicants, such as tourists, students, and temporary workers. The bill offers an expedited processing fee and the opportunity to extend visitor visas while in the U.S.

According to Thomas F. (Tommy) Goodwin, FASAE, CAE, PMP, CMP, Vice President, Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance, “[i]nternational travel has been fully reopened for nearly two years, yet countless associations still can’t fully welcome back international exhibitors and attendees to their U.S. events due to ongoing visa delays. The Visa Processing Improvement Act is critical to addressing these unacceptable delays and allowing associations nationwide fully reunite their international stakeholders here in the U.S.”

Associations like OSAP and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) are advocating for the legislation to address the delays, which have deterred travelers and hindered the work of associations and the international meetings industry. The State Department has already taken some measures to reduce wait times, but the bill aims to further streamline the visa processing system while maintaining national security. Overall, the Visa Processing Improvement Act aims to bring relief to businesses, universities, and families affected by visa processing delays and boost the U.S. economy by attracting more international travelers.

This article was provided to OSAP by ASAE's Power of Associations and Inroads.

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