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No religious factors while issuing visas: US embassy
September 06, 2007 18:00 IST
The United States' embassy in India does not consider religion while issuing visas, a senior US government official said on Thursday.
"'We don't consider race or religion while issuing visas to Indians nor do we ask the applicant about these things," said US consul general Peter Kaestner in Lucknow
Talking to mediapersons, Kaestner said the US visa policy clearly defined that there would be no queries about race and religion of the people who wanted to visit the US.
He also denied that there was any change in the visa policy after 9/11 that there was restriction on any person of a particular religion while issuing visas.
Clarifying that it is up to the applicant to convince the US interviewing authority on their visas, he said most visas were rejected as applicants could not convince that they would return to India after the expiry of their visas.
"The visa interview is a very subjective thing; something which is subjective cannot be perfect," he said.
"Burden of proof is on the applicant and they have to convince officials that they will return," the US official said.
Kaestner, however, said this year till August, about 7.2 lakh visas had been processed and of all the applicants, about 80 per cent were given visas. In 2006, the US consulate processed 4.6 lakh visas.
Meanwhile, the consul general announced that an 'American Presence Post' would be set up in Lucknow to focus on diplomacy, emergency consultancy services for US citizens and commercial interest between both the countries. Besides this, there would be an 'American Corner' to highlight the US literary work, he said without giving any time frame for the opening of this post.
He also announced that by next year a 42-visa counter new consulate building would be opened in Mumbai while the visa counters at Delhi and Kolkata counsulates would be doubled.
"A new US counsulate would also come up at Hyderabad," Kaestner added.