A record half a million Colombians this year have requested a U.S. visa and 85 percent of those requests have been approved, the U.S. consulate in Bogota reported after the milestone was reached.
Some 94 percent of the visas granted this year were for tourism and business, along with some 7,000 student visas, the U.S. diplomatic mission said.
“This phenomenon is not coincidence. The good period through which the country is passing from the economic and social point of view has made Colombian citizens some of the main visitors from the region to the United States,” said U.S. Consul General in Colombia Roberto Powers.
The diplomat emphasized that the entry into force last year of the Free Trade Treaty between Bogota and Washington had made the process of requesting visas more dynamic.
Currently, the U.S. consular section of the embassy receives about 2,500 visa requests each day, a figure that represents a 37 percent increase over 2012.
The consular section calculates that the demand for visas will continue growing such that in 2014 Washington plans to increase the number of its vice consuls in Colombia.