Department of State Managing Director for Visa Services, Ed Ramotowski, announced yesterday that, due to their robust economies and currency strength against the U.S. dollar, 44% more U.S. visas have been issued in Brazil this year than last year and 35% more in China. DOS described its efforts to keep up with this skyrocketing demand.
Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in China, Chuck Bennett, announced that 50 permanent consular positions will be added next year, temporary officers will be sent to manage seasonal demand, service hours will be expanded, and new interview windows will be added: 22 in Guangzhou, 20 in Shanghai, 8 in Chengdu, and 8 in Beijing. According to Bennett, a large part of the growing demand is for student visas; Chinese are now the largest group of foreign students in the United States.
Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs in Brazil, Donald Jacobson, announced that consular staff will be doubled next year, work hours have already been extended, and a large contingent of temporary officers is working to bring down the large visa backlog. Current wait times for appointments at the embassy and consulates in Brazil are as long as 3-4 months. Jacobson also commented that visa overstay rates for Brazilians are now "quite low."