In our last post we discussed the increased demand by residents of China to obtain a visa to enter the United States. This week we explore the matter in relation to another country where the demand is growing at a brisk pace - Brazil.
As we discussed in our previous post, the U.S. Department of State is doing what it can to keep up with the visa demand from countries with strong economies such as Brazil. A motivation for addressing this demand is the number of jobs an increase in tourism from Brazil could bring into this country.
South Florida, including Miami, is poised to take advantage of the expected influx and will add hospitality and tourism jobs as necessary. According to the CEO and president of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, more than 550,000 Brazilians visited the area in 2010. While there, the group spent around $1.1 billion.
The South Florida statistics are only a portion of the numbers recorded. Throughout the entire U.S. in 2010, more than 1.2 million residents of Brazil spent time in the country. While here they contributed close to $6 billion to the economy.
The State Department is hoping to increase those numbers in the South Florida region and other parts of the U.S. by making it possible for Brazilians to more quickly obtain a visa. The primary ways in which this is being done are by increasing the number of visa interviews that can be done each day by extending office hours and increasing the number of employees staffing the embassy and consulates in Brazil.
The efforts appear to be paying off. Earlier this month the Department of State issued a press release that indicated a record number of visa applications have been processed this year in Brazil. At 820,000 for the fiscal year, this is a 42 percent increase over last year. In addition, the wait time for a visa interview has dropped to less than 50 days. Before the additional employees were added, most Brazilians were waiting a minimum of 100 days.
The Department of State is not the only faction of the government that recognizes the benefit of visitors from other countries. A bill that would grant countries such as Brazil visa waiver status is currently with Congress. We will post updates on that bill as they become available.
Source: Miami Today, "State Department trims Brazilians' visa waits," Scott Blake, Dec. 22, 2011
U.S. Department of State, "State Department Deploys Additional Staff to Process Record U.S. Visa Demand," Dec. 21, 2011