US consulate opened in Hyderabad

October 24th, 2008 - 7:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Oct 24 (IANS) The consulate of the United States of America (USA) was formally opened here Friday and it will start issuing visas from December this year.US Ambassador to India David C. Mulford raised the American flag over the new office of the US Consulate-General at Paigha Palace, a heritage building, in Begumpet, to formally inaugurate the facility.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy also attended the ceremonial opening.

This is the fourth US consulate in India after Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.

US President George W. Bush, during his visit to Hyderabad March 2006, had announced setting up of the consulate, fulfilling a long-pending demand of visa seekers from Andhra Pradesh, who presently travel to Chennai to avail the services.

Consul General Cornelis M. Keur said the consulate general would start functioning in December this year and would initially handle 100 visa applications a day. The consulate will handle 300 applications from next year.

The US consulate in Chennai is presently handling 500 applications every day for different visas from Andhra Pradesh. About 40 percent of those applying for visas in Chennai are from Andhra Pradesh.

“The consulate will start the operations with 12 US consul officials and 35 local staff members,” Keur 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. The officials said building a permanent campus could take eight to nine years.

Out of two million Americans of Indian origin, 400,000 hail from Andhra Pradesh.

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