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U.S. Department of State Transforming the US-India Relationship

Robert D. Blackwill, Ambassador to India
Remarks to the Alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology
San Jose, California
January 18, 2003

Released by the United States Embassy

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Citizen-to-Citizen Exchanges

The Indian-American community in the United States has doubled in the past ten years, and is now about two million strong. India recently passed China to become the second largest country for legal migration to the United States, only behind our next-door neighbor Mexico. Each year more than 18,000 Indian students are issued visas to pursue their education in the United States, and there are 22% more Indians studying in the US this year than last. With the total number of Indian students now more than 66,000, this country has become the number one source of foreign students for American colleges and universities.

Since India became a software giant, almost the same number of "H1b - temporary worker visa petitions" has been approved for Indian citizens as for the rest of the world combined. During the past year, our consular sections in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai issued more than 275,000 tourist and business visas. It is estimated that more than 400,000 Indians visit the United States for business or pleasure each year. Although there have been some delays in visa processing since 9/11, for the vast majority of applicants from India new security measures should have no effect on either their ability to qualify for a visa, or the time it takes to have it issued. Indeed, the overall visa issuance rate for India is the same today as it was before 9/11. And, there are no more long visa lines at US diplomatic facilities in India.

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