Brendan O’Brien, United States General Counselor in Argentina, announced yesterday that the process to obtain a visa to enter the US has been simplified into one day of appointments. Before, the process required two separate appointments on two different days, one to take photos and another to interview with the Consulate. The change took place last Tuesday, running as a pilot for the week, and is now approved as the new visa process.
In order to streamline the process, an agreement was reached between the Center for Attention to Applicants (CAS) and the US Consulate. The photo and personal information portion of the process in the CAS normally takes place on the first day, and requires a two hour transmission window to send the information to the Consulate. On the second day’s appointment, a Consulate representative reviews the information the CAS collected and holds an interview with the applicant. To accommodate the transfer time between the CAS and the Consulate, the CAS will open at 7 AM, meaning appointments from 9 AM to about midday with the consulate can take place on the same day as the CAS.
The process is anticipated to allow one-day appointments for half of applicants, and will especially help those who have to travel from other provinces to visit the Consulate. O’Brien adds that law-abiding and timely travelers will only have to make the trek once in their lifetime, too:
“If travelers use their visa well, that is, if they do not breach the deadlines and do not commit any crimes in the United States, they will most likely visit the Consulate once in their life and later renew it without having to come here.”
Right now, the photo process takes 15 minutes and the interview portion 47 minutes, on average. The wait time for an appointment is about 40 days, which may grow as applications rise. As Argentina is one of the countries with the highest visa demand to enter the United States, a streamlined process is necessary to meet demand. Everyday, nearly 1,500 Argentines process applications with the consulate, which the Consulate estimate will reach an annual total of 400 thousand applicants in 2017.
O’Brien reminds visa applicants who want to make the appointments in one day to schedule at minimum two hours apart between the CAS and the Consulate, pay the US $160 dollar processing fee, and complete the online form before going to the CAS.