According to data from the US Embassy, Colombia ranks first in visa applications to travel to the United States in 2023. A US diplomatic mission is preparing to handle the increase in visa demand and speed up the application process.
Delays of up to 2 years
Obtaining a visa to travel to the United States has long since become an odyssey for Colombian citizens. There have been cases where the delay has reached up to 24 months. According to sources from the US diplomatic delegation, this is due to delays caused by the lockdown during the pandemic year and the high demand, which, in fact, makes Colombia the world’s leader in demand for these types of documents.
To address this reality and reduce wait times, the embassy has launched a program to expedite visa procedures in Colombia. Initially, the US diplomatic mission has sought cooperation from other embassies to assist with over half a million visa application processes in Bogotá.
More than 50 experts from various countries, including Argentina, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Serbia, Namibia, Jamaica, Indonesia, and even Venezuela, have arrived in the Colombian capital to improve the visa application process.
One of the foreign experts who came to Colombia stated that “the consular team in Bogotá is committed to reducing wait times in Colombia for first-time visa applicants. And this global team is honored to help achieve this goal.”
Announcement of greater transparency
Representatives of the US consulate have also expressed their commitment to transparency and providing information to citizens. Specifically, the embassy has accepted the challenge of informing visa applicants promptly about wait times, procedures, and requirements.
It should be clarified that not all visa applicants are approved. In fact, up to 33% of visa applications are rejected in Colombia. In many cases, the reason is a simple error, such as the photograph that must be attached to the official DS-160 form.
US Visa Fees
The cost of a visa has changed as of June 17. The fee for business or tourism visitor visas (B1/B2 and BCC) has increased from the previous $160 to the current $185.
The fees for non-immigrant visas, i.e., those who wish to stay for an extended period and work temporarily in the US (H, L, O, P, Q, R categories), have increased from $190 to the current $205.
Finally, the fee for treaty investors or treaty trader visas in a specialized occupation (category E) is experiencing the largest increase, going from $205 to $315.