For years, Cooperators and private sector food and beverage organizations have reached out to FAS/India for help in facilitating timely visa interview priority appointment requests (PARs) for individuals selected to travel to the U.S. for marketing and capacity building activities. In recent months, the volume of these requests has grown exponentially due to increased U.S. government engagement with India and South Asia more generally. FAS/India remains ready to assist with these requests but needs more advanced notice to complete the process mandated by State Department guidelines. Going forward, FAS/India will only be able to support PARs that have a minimum of 60 days before planned travel. Cooperators and other organizations in need of FAS/India assistance to secure visa interviews for contacts need to understand that failure to adhere to the minimum 60-day notice may result in Post being unable to assist with securing a visa interview.
FAS India did more than 100 priority appointment requests (PARs) January- August 2023 and has received an additional 100 requests in September and October 2023. The demand and the associated paperwork to do these requests are preventing Post from doing important reporting and marketing activities. In addition, Post says that some organizations have been very demanding and expecting Post to prioritize assistance with visa appointments over other, more routine FAS work.