Over the three-year period, 2014-2016, the number of non-immigrant visas issued by the United States Embassy here has seen significant increases by over 20,000 each year.
United States Ambassador to Guyana, Perry Holloway, had in July of this year informed that for last year some 72,000 non-immigrant visas were issued here and said that it was mostly due to the improving economic situation in the country.
“The improving economic situation over the last few years has led to our refusal rate coming down significantly, from a high of well over 50 percent five years ago, to one much lower today and luckily for us only a small percent of Guyanese, who go to the US actually abuse their visas and stay illegally”, Holloway had stated.
The US envoy had pointed out that that bilateral relations between Guyana and his country “could not be better” and that the future was also optimistic since “there is a lot more to come.”
Stabroek News obtained the data for both immigrant and non-immigrant visas for the periods 2014-2016.
It was explained by the embassy that the figures reflect the numbers for their “fiscal year” period which runs from October 1 of the prior calendar year to September 30 of the current calendar year.
In fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014) some 31,000 non-immigrant visas were processed by the US Embassy in Georgetown.
The following fiscal year, that number increased by sixty four percent when it climbed to 51,000.
Then in 2016, a staggering 72,000 visas were processed which is reflective of an over one hundred and thirty percent (132.4%) increase over a two-year period.
And while non-immigrant visa processing showed a steep rise in figures, it was the contrary for immigrant visa processing. In the 2014 fiscal year the U.S Embassy processed a total of 6403 immigrant visas but in 2015 that number went down by 249 taking the year’s total to 6154.
It would drop by a further 554 for the 2016 fiscal year when the processed immigrant visa numbers were 5600.
However, over the past decade the number of immigrant visas processed have remained in the range between 4400 and 6500.
But for non-immigrant visas, when compared to a decade ago, the fiscal year of 2007, only a little over 3,500 non-immigrant visas were processed.