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Seeking a US visa? This is the right time to apply

A big drop in the number of visas occured after 9/11
Karachi, April 22: The Consul General of the Consular Section at the United States Embassy Islamabad Christopher J Richard has said that the number of visa application that had dropped after a change in the laws following 9/11, have once again increased in the past two years.

"A big drop in the number of visas occured after 9/11. Not only the US visas, but several other countries have also made the same reduction as the laws became strict and new laws were introduced after 9/11. In the last two years, the number of applications that the US Embassy has received has increased," he said in an interview held at the US Consulate Karachi. "The increasing visa applications can be gauged from the fact that in 2008, the US embassy in Islamabad issued 23,300 visas including 2,700 visas for students and exchange visitor, 1,700 temporarily work visa and 1,900 visas for senior officials," he added.

Richard disclosed that US Embassy is planning to reopen the visa service at the Karachi consulate. "The issue of reopening visa services from Karachi remained on a priority basis but I cannot give a time frame regarding how many months it would take to be made functional," he said.

Meanwhile, he added that the US Embassy always encourages people to apply for visas and to facilitate the visa applicants, US embassy usually conduct 160 interviews daily while in the summer session that starts from May 1, the number of interviews goes up to 200 everyday, he added.

When he was asked that people assume that the process to get a US visa is lengthy and takes lot of the time, he rejected the general assumptions and said that the visa process is easy and there is a certain time frame for different phases of the visas application process. "The first stage of the process is to get an appointment that usually takes seven days and after that the process runs for some 120 days and we do not make it lengthy. Instead we encourage more and more people to apply for US visa," he said.

He added that if someone wants to get a visa, he or she must be fully prepared for an interview. The most important part of the process is to reply to the question as to why he or she wants to get a visa. "This question confuses a lot of people although it is not a difficult one. The purpose of the question is only to satisfy the visa officer," he said. "Everything must be relevant and valid. For example, if questioned about the salary, the applicant must disclose the salary and not mention other details like the job description, educational background and other irrelevant information, otherwise it gets confusing" he said, adding that if anyone has difficulty in conversing in English language, he or she may take help from an interpreter for proper communication so that the process could be run properly. He also said that people must understand the questions that they are asked during the visa process so that they are able to respond appropriately and this will make their application process faster.

Richard further said that 4,000 schools, colleges of musicology, engineering, culture and other subjects from USA are offering admissions to students from around the world and thus the US embassies encourage students to apply for student visa. "If Pakistani students want to apply for visas in order to get admissions in US educational institutes, this is the right time to apply as the admissions in US schools and college will open as the visas application be processed. "The relevant material for visa process is available online and we really encourage Pakistani students and tourists to apply for visas, as tourists being lot of the ideas and cultural values," he went on to add.

Your Comments
"This is very healthy material to help people like me.But i need assistance to get visa.I passed my 14 year acedmic. Working as a clerk im christian but not safe n secure about my Future please help me in any kind of visa."
Name: simon
City, Country:sialkot

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Risky' Pak applicants for UK visas interviewed over phone
Lahore: Students from Pakistan are being interviewed over the telephone from outside the country when there are concerns they might be 'risky', British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted in the wake of the arrest of terror suspects who had entered the UK on student visas. British officials based in Abu Dhabi question some applicants over the telephone before giving them permission to enter the UK to study at universities and colleges, according to The Times. But the Home Office denied a claim by Keith Vaz chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee that some decisions on visa applications were made in the Foreign Office in Whitehall. The disclosure on telephone interviewing came as Jacqui Smith brushed off criticism from MPs over a series of damaging stories, including the arrest of terror suspects who had entered the country on student visas. It has also emerged the UK government is piloting a system in which all applications from Pakistanis wishing to come to Britain would be dealt with in Abu Dhabi. Applications are processed in Pakistan, but the actual decision by a British entry clearance office is made in Abu Dhabi.

Pakistanis detained in UK deny charges
Islamabad: Pakistani students held by the British government on terror charges have accused officials and their solicitors of misleading them in seeking consular access as authorities finally granted consular access to seven of the detainees. Diplomatic sources said the students were claiming they were innocent and denying the charges. They said the authorities had failed to come up with evidence in support of the charges. They said the British government had given in to the demand by Pakistan to grant consular access to those detained on Monday, and allowed the Pakistani deputy high commissioner in London to meet the seven of the 10 detained Pakistani students arrested on April 8 in the northwest of the country. Daily Times

UK police free 9 Pakistanis held in terror raids
London: Nine of the 11 mostly Pakistani men arrested during a major anti-terror operation in northwest England earlier this month were released on Tuesday, a police spokeswoman said. "The north-west counter-terrorism unit has released nine of those arrested as part of a national operation," the spokeswoman for Manchester police said. She said the men, aged between 22 and 38, had been subsequently transferred to the custody of the UK Borders Agency, which is responsible for controlling immigration into Britain. Two men remained in police custody. afp

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