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November 10, 2022
Leaders from the travel and events industry continue to press the Biden administration to address the long wait times for nonimmigrant visas to visit the United States that are hampering the economy.
The U.S. Travel Association pointed out this week that Nov. 8 marked the one-year anniversary of the U.S. reopening its borders to inbound air travelers and U.S. visa wait times continue to average more than 400 days for first-time visitor visa applicants in the largest countries for inbound travel.
U.S. Travel estimates that the U.S. will lose nearly 7 million potential visitors and $12 billion in projected spending in 2023 alone due to excessive wait times.
“A year ago, the images of planes and travelers headed to the U.S. were cause for celebration after nearly two years of border closures,” said USTA president and CEO Geoff Freeman. “Today, a full year since that joyful moment, a massive visa backlog has driven many of our potential visitors to go elsewhere. It’s a setback the Biden administration should be fully committed to solving.”
The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) is also pushing the White House and the State Department to address the visitor visa delays, and supports the bipartisan Visitor Visa Wait Time Reduction Act, introduced in Congress last month 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.