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Long waits for passport and Customs processing at U.S. airports aren’t the only bottlenecks for international travelers — delays in getting interviews and slow visa lines can be a big problem at U.S. embassies and consular facilities in foreign countries, too.
As part of an effort to speed the visa process in Brazil, which sent more than 2 million visitors to the U.S. in 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs contracted with Disney Worldwide Services to fine-tune the flow of applicants at the embassy and consular offices in the South American country.
The bureau was interested in Disney’s “expertise in queue management to process more applicants through the same spaces in less time,” according to an Obama administration report entitled, “Progress on the President’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy.” [The report is embedded below.]
Disney, which has some experience with lines at its theme parks, apparently knows something about moving people efficiently from point A to point B.
“Most applicants in Brazil are now in and out of our facilities in 30 minutes or less,” the report states.
The U.S. State Department granted nearly 1 million visas in Brazil in 2013, a number that has more than doubled in four years.
The White House says visa applicants in Brazil can now secure an appointment “in just a day or two.”
In response to a presidential executive order, the U.S. increased its consular ranks in Brazil in 2012 by 40%, and eventually more than doubled it, the report states.
“Some of that increase was through an innovative new hiring program that let us bring Portuguese-speaking U.S. citizens on board quickly,” the report states.
The U.S. is getting more efficient in issuing visas around the world, having issued 9.2 million nonimmigrant visas in fiscal 2013, a 42% jump since 2010.