US visa services now on Saturday
June 23, 2010 | Posted by Chris
The US Embassy in Beijing has announced that it and US consulates across China will extend visa services to open on Saturdays for the "next few weeks" in an effort to ease a backlog of US visa processing, the US State Department posted on its website. The process of obtaining a visa to the US is not easy for many mainland Chinese, who must pass interviews and provide letters of recomendation and proof of assets in order to be approved. That is, of course, if and when their paperwork is ready -- and this is becoming a challenge for US embassy and consular staff in China. The State Department reports that there are 28% more visa applications from mainland Chinese this year than there were last year in 2009, and the numbers are only expected to increase as the Chinese get better off and ties with the US grow. "While we're pleased about increased Chinese interest in traveling to the United States, we are not pleased by the increased wait times for a visa appointment," says US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr, who adds that staff will "think creatively" to clear the backlog.