U.S. Ambassador Mark Gitenstein said yesterday that 81 per cent of Romanians who applied for non-immigrant visas for the United States in 2010, were granted the right. A total of 29,000 people thus received the non-immigrant visas, 3,000 more than in 2009, he added. Gitenstein made the statement after a meeting with Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi, on the occasion of a U.S. Embassy-Ministry of Foreign Affairs U.S. visa information campaign launch, according to a press release from the embassy.
“America welcomes Romanians and we encourage travel to the United States for tourism, business and study. I’m pleased to report that last year 29,000 Romanians received non-immigrant visas for the United States, an increase of almost 3,000 over the prior year,” the ambassador said. Gitenstein said the 81 per cent figure was good, but “it also means that there are also people who get refused.”
The ambassador added that when the visa campaign began last year, a new electronic visa application was launched, which is accessed online. “I’m pleased to report to you that today this form is used by 100 percent of visitor visa applicants with great success. From cities, towns and villages across Romania we receive visa applications electronically, making the process more efficient and more customer friendly,” the ambassador explained.
This year, the embassy added a new service for those who make a mistake in completing the online form, “which is unfortunately about 15 per cent of those who apply.” “We now contact those applicants in advance of their appointments to assist them in making the necessary corrections before they come out to Baneasa for their appointments. This added customer service has reduced wait times and the need for applicants to make more than one trip to the Consular Section at the Embassy,” Gitenstein said.
As for the visa refusal rate, the ambassador acknowledge that this is a “sensitive topic” and underlined that one of the “more sensitive questions on this topic is (…) those who continue to apply and reapply.” “According to our immigration law, applicants can reapply as many times as they want, but we strongly discourage this,” he said.
In his turn, FM Baconschi said U.S. visa liberalization would be a “normal” move because it will allow stronger business ties and will give Romania “a feeling of justice and actual solidarity.” He explained that the visa campaign run together with the U.S. embassy is aimed at lowering the application denial rate and at making Romanian applicants more responsible about the process at the same time.