Immigration Visas:

In the first half of the 2024 fiscal year, the US government issued historically high numbers of both immigration and non-immigration visas, setting new records in various categories.

Between October 2023 and March 2024, over 281,000 immigration visas were issued. This figure exceeds issuance levels for any year of the past decade. Particularly significant growth is observed in the category of immediate relatives of US citizens, with over 152,000 visas issued in six months.

Non-Immigration Visas:

The number of non-immigration visas issued is also impressive. Approximately 5.2 million non-immigration visas were issued worldwide, setting a record for this period.

  • Around 134,000 visas were issued to exchange program participants, and 115,000 to students.
  • The sector of temporary and seasonal work in agriculture and other sectors also experienced significant growth, with a record 205,000 visas issued.
  • Approximately 160,000 visas were issued to members of airline and maritime crews.
  • Immigration visas for employment increased by 75%, reaching 25,000 visas in six months.

Over 4.1 million B-category guest visas were issued for tourists and business travelers. It is interesting to note that two-thirds of these visas were issued in Mexico, India, Brazil, China, Colombia, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador.

About Tourist Visas:

In 2023, the percentage of refusals for tourist visas for CIS citizens significantly increased. The State Department’s report presented data on refusals for tourist visas for the 2023 fiscal year, highlighting several interesting trends:

  • Israel leads in ease of obtaining B1/B2 visas to the USA with a low refusal rate of only 3%.
  • Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia also show excellent results with refusal rates of 9%, 13%, and 16% respectively.
  • The refusal rate for Ukraine decreased to 34% in 2023, which is a positive trend.
  • For citizens of Russia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan, the refusal rates increased to 39.5%, 33%, and 36% respectively.
  • Among post-Soviet countries, Uzbekistan had the highest refusal rate – 60%.
  • High refusal rates were also recorded in Tajikistan (55%), Armenia (51.5%), Turkmenistan (51%), Georgia (49%), Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan (42%).

These data emphasize not only the increased interest in travel to the USA but also changes in visa issuance policies for different countries, which may impact international relations and the tourism industry as a whole.