Russian tourist arrivals in the United States went up by 30 percent to a record 300,000 in 2013, Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow Julie Kavanagh said at the Day of America exhibition.
About 73 million tourists visited the United States last year, while Russian tourist arrivals doubled over the past four years and grew by 30 percent to a record 300,000 in 2013, she said.
More than 250,000 non-immigrant visas were issued last year, 95 percent of them three-year multi-entry visas, Kavanagh noted.
In her words, the U.S. consular section was doing its best to retain the tourist flow and to make the visa application a simple and efficient procedure.
The number of applicants who may receive their visas without an interview has been growing. A third of applicants are not interviewed and visas are issued in less than a week, she said. The consular section's staff has been enlarged. Besides, the standard validity period of a tourist visa issued to Russian citizens has been enlarged from one to three years, the consul general indicated.
It is possible to apply for a visa online and to pay for the visa with a credit card, she said.
The construction of a modern building for the consular section has started in Moscow, Kavanagh noted.
She said last year that the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued the largest number of visas in the entire period of diplomatic relations and they expected to beat that record in 2014.
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