The Consulate General of United States will start issuing general tourist visas from March this year to people in Sindh and Balochistan, thus tripling the numbers from the current volume.
“The opening of this full scale visa section in Karachi will eliminate the trip of visa seekers to Islamabad and save their time”, said US Consul General William Martin along with the head of visa section and Consul Ms Meghan Moore, in an interview here on Wednesday.
“This new building will become a “focal point” for all the US assistance and development related activities of United States in Sindh and Balochistan”, he added while referring to the opening of new building US Consulate in Karachi.
He said that the revamping of visa services in a large way is a very concrete example of the type of long term committed interest the USA has here in Karachi for the residents of Sindh and Balochistan.
Meghan said that the visa section at Karachi Consulate will be fully functional from March 2011, taking 40 percent of the visas load for non-immigrants in Pakistan which means people who are getting green cards. “We will triple interviews and visa from the current level of 30 a day”, she noted.
She said these numbers are going to increase dramatically from 1st February.
“We are currently doing renewals of tourist visas (B1/B2) that have expired within the past year, issuing business travel visas (B1), tourist visas for senior citizens over the age of 65 (B2), journalists (I), crew members of PIA (C1/D), students and exchange visitors (F,J,M), and petition-based visas”, she said.
People who are applying for work visa will be eligible to apply from 1st of February. We have already updated all the categories on our website for the preview. This will give an idea to visa seekers about the types of categories as they will also have a preview facility.
Referring to other activities of US-Pakistan strategic relations, Martin said that US is currently working on new projects for Sindh and Balochistan in the fields of agriculture, education, health and energy.
“Other than the flood relief funds, we have recently contributed $ 190 million under farmers programme to provide money to flood victims so that they can rebuilt their homes and livelihoods”, he opined.
In north of Sindh we are distributing seeds and farms tools so that affected people can began cultivation on their land, Martin said.
He said that United States is setting up 150 megawatts of wind power farm along coastal line in Sindh to generate electricity and encourage green energy.
The US is closely working with NGOs and the government of Pakistan to identify projects for Sindh and Balochistan. At the same time we are working to improve hospitals in Karachi and Jacobabad, improving schools in devastated areas.
Similarly, the power plants in Guddoo and Jashmoro are being rehabilitated and revamped to make them more efficient, cost effective and generate more power for the country.
We are also planning to take up more projects in future. We are always evaluating and looking for projects that we feel will benefit the people of Sindh and contribute to the economy in future.
We will also take up schools and hospitals that were damaged during the floods. They are in thousands.
Talking of the US support to Pakistan in combatting terrorism, he said that United States was also providing technical training particularly relating to investigations to police department to improve their performance.
Police people are provided training here and overseas by US experts in explosive, detection and counter measures to help protect the citizens of Pakistan.
I have been trying to encourage US visitors and investors as soon as possible to come to this wonderful modern city of Karachi. But these days they are busy there. Moreover, they see the power (corridor) in Islamabad and therefore they usually visit the capital.
However, I am hopeful that more people will be visiting Karachi in future.
U.S. Consulate General
Plot # 3-5
New TPX Area
Mai Kolachi Road
Telephone: (+92-21) 3527-5000
Fax: (+92-21) 3561-2420
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.