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October 13, 2022
Travel industry leaders are applauding the introduction of legislation last week to address the long wait times for nonimmigrant visas to visit the United States that are hampering the economy.
Last week, Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL) and Susie Lee (D-NV) introduced the bipartisan Visitor Visa Wait Time Reduction Act to require the State Department to outline specific steps to address visa wait times at each diplomatic post where the wait time for a visitor visa appointment exceeds 100 days.
“The current wait times for non-immigrant visas are totally unacceptable and the State Department must take action to address this,” Salazar said. “Many of my constituents are suffering from this backlog, which keeps them from seeing their family members and hurts our local businesses which rely on tourism.”
“While Las Vegas is bouncing back as the travel and tourism capital of the world, unreasonably long tourist visa processing wait times are still stifling our tourism economy and hampering our recovery,” Lee added.
Research conducted by the U.S. Travel Association shows that low prioritization of visitor visa processing is keeping an estimated 6.6 million potential visitors from traveling to the U.S. in 2023, creating a projected loss of $11.6 billion in spending.
“Outrageous wait times send a message to travelers that the United States is closed for business,” said U.S. Travel President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “Unacceptable visa delays are harming the American workforce and it is long past time for the Biden administration to solve the problem.”