US consulate in Hyderabad to handle 100 applications a day initially

September 25th, 2008 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 25 (IANS) The consulate general of the United States here will start functioning in December this year and will initially handle 100 visa applications a day, said Consul General Cornelis M. Keur here Thursday.The US consulate in Chennai is presently handling 500 applications every day for different visas from Andhra Pradesh.

“We will start with 100 applications and will gradually ramp up next year to take half of their (Chennai consulate) workload,” he told a meeting on India-US economic cooperation, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the occasion of visit of US-India Business Council (USIBC) executive mission.

The consulate will start functioning in mid-December from Paigah Palace, a heritage building in Begumpet neighbourhood.

Keur said the training for the staff would begin next month. “To start with we will have 12 US consul officials and 35 local staff members,” he said. Next year, the number of Americans will go up to 21 and the locals to 65.

The consulate will build its permanent campus at Gacchibowli, where the state government has allotted a piece of land. “It will take eight to nine years to have a new facility. It will be double in size and handle more than double work load,” he said.

The new consulate is expected to benefit the large number of professionals from Andhra Pradesh seeking US visas. About 40 percent of those applying for visas in the US consulate in Chennai are from Andhra Pradesh.

Ron Somers, president, USIBC, told the same session that out of two million Americans of Indian origin, 400,000 hail from Andhra Pradesh.

This is the fourth US consulate in India after Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. US President George W. Bush had announced setting up the consulate here in March last year.

The first consul general said the consulate would be a full-fledged one and would provide full range of consular services to green card holders, visa applicants including those of the family members of people living in US and passport services.

He said the US decided to set up a consulate in Hyderabad as it was a unique city and pointed out that companies like Microsoft, Google and ADP were pioneers in setting up their operations here.

According to him, the city has distinct advantages like democratic tradition, English-knowing people, knowledge based industry and technical and knowledge-based manpower.

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