US to maintain visa policy towards Vietnam

HCM City (VNA) – The US President Barack Obama’s new administration will maintain its national policies concerning consular affairs in general, as well as the granting of visas to Vietnamese citizens, according to the new assistant to US Secretary of State in charge of consular affairs, Janice L. Jacobs.
The US official made this statement during her visit to the USA Education Centre in Ho Chi Minh City on Feb. 10 as part of her first overseas business trip that aims to inquire into Asian consular issues.
Regarding the granting of visas to Vietnamese nationals, Jacobs confirmed that the new US administration would continue to give priority to the granting of visas to Vietnamese students.
She said that around 15,000 Vietnamese students are currently studying in the US and expressed hope that this figure would continue to increase in the future.
The US official also affirmed that the global economic crisis and the growing unemployment in the US “do not affect the current visa granting policy.”
According to the Ho Chi Minh City-based US Consulate General, close to 10,000 Vietnamese students obtained visas in 2008, representing a 50 percent rise over 2007 and marking Vietnam as one of the top eight countries in the world regarding the number of citizens studying in the US .
The Consulate General also reported that US visas issued to Vietnamese tourists rose by 30 percent, compared to the previous year and that more than 50 percent of visa applications by Vietnamese people were processed successfully.
During 2008, the US agencies in Vietnam issued visas for 748 children who had been adopted by US parents.
On the same day, Jacobs met with Standing Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, Nguyen Thanh Tai, where she revealed a particular interest in the possibility of joint cooperation in the establishment of new education centres to further facilitate the two countries’ education cooperation and exchange programmes.
They agreed that the two countries had established an outstanding cooperative relationship in the social field, particularly regarding the fight against HIV/AIDS and other related projects in Ho Chi Minh City .
Throughout the course of her stay in Vietnam , from Feb.9 to 12, Jacobs will attend meetings with a number of Vietnamese officials, giving her the opportunity to discuss issues connected to the establishment of diplomatic representative offices, child adoption programmes and other general consular matters.