At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. María Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., to unveil the “Visitor Visa Wait Time Reduction Act.”
“This bill addresses the extreme, years-long wait times for visitor (nonimmigrant) visa appointments at the U.S. State Department,” Salazar’s office noted. “The bill requires the State Department to outline specific steps to address this problem at each diplomatic post where the wait time for a visitor visa appointment exceeds 100 days. To directly reduce wait times, it also temporarily reassigns staff from other State Department offices to diplomatic posts where the wait time for a nonimmigrant visa appointment exceeds 300 days.”
“The current wait times for non-immigrant visas are totally unacceptable and the State Department must take action to address this,” said Salazar. “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,” said Lee. “These long wait times not only hurt business, they also keep families from visiting their loved ones in the United States. Business travelers are missing conventions and conferences, and families are missing weddings, births, and graduations—all because of these delays. This bipartisan legislation is a common-sense step to help clear the tourist visa backlog and revitalize our international travel and tourism industry in Las Vegas and across the country.”
The U.S. Travel Association is backing the proposal. More than a dozen other members of the House lined up behind the bill as co-sponsors including U.S. Reps. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., John Larson, D-Ct., and Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.
The bill was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
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