Reps. Titus, Bilirakis Call for Visa Processing Improvements
Washington, DC, September 30, 2022 | Sara Severens (202-924-1719)
Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01) and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas requesting improvements for visa processing to facilitate greater international visitation to the United States.
Washington, DC – Today Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01), co-chair of the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus, and Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas requesting improvements for visa processing to facilitate greater international visitation to the United States.
“To ensure international visitation can fully resume, we urge you to take steps to restore visa processing operations to pre-pandemic levels, reduce the backlog of appointments, and lower visa wait times as soon as possible,” the Members wrote. “Limited visa processing capacity and extended wait times discourage inbound travel, reduce visitor spending, and disrupt the reopening of American businesses.”
As international and domestic travel begins to recover, many travel businesses rely on H-2B and J-1 visas to meet short-term and seasonal workforce demands that cannot otherwise be filled. With such a significant portion of U.S. visa processing sites facing astronomical wait times, travel businesses will not have the international visitors or the temporary workers they need to generate a speedy and robust recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
By taking the steps outlined in this letter, it is estimated that our nation would position itself to welcome an additional 2.2 million international visitors, contributing an additional $5.2 billion to the U.S. economy over a 6-month period.
“Today’s extraordinary visa delays tell qualified visitors to ‘go away,’” said Geoff Freeman, President & CEO of U.S. Travel Association. “It is embarrassing, costing our economy dearly and past time for the Biden administration to solve the problem. Thank you to the almost 60 bipartisan lawmakers that recognize that we can – and must – do better.”
In addition to Reps. Titus and Bilirakis, this letter was signed by 55 Members of Congress and was endorsed by the U.S. Travel Association, United States Tour Operators Association, and the National Tour Association.
Read today’s full letter here.###