More and more Argentines are traveling to the U.S.
Demand for U.S. tourist visas has soared by around 50% over the past year, according to the embassy.
“Last year the U.S. received more than 500,000 visitors from Argentina,” the embassy said.
Visa demand is so high that the Buenos Aires embassy now ranks among the top 10 worldwide in terms of tourist visa applications.
On average, the embassy handles more than 1,300 visa application a day. To meet the increased demand, the embassy has opened a new processing center and hired additional personnel.
About a year ago it took approximately four months to get a visa interview. Now “the visa interview can be be obtained in less than a week,” the embassy said in a statement.
To pay for the additional personnel and run the processing center, the embassy said it is raising the B1/B2 tourist visa application fee to US $160 from $140.
“The new amount faithfully reflects the costs our embassy needs to recover under US law through the visa application fee,” the embassy said.
The embassy didn’t say why visa demand is rising, but tourism sector officials say rising purchasing power is one factor making it easier for Argentines to travel. Another is the fact that Argentines can now pay for plane tickets in quotas spread out over months or years.
One interesting trend is the “viaje de quince” — more and more teenage girls are flying with their friends and families to the U.S. to celebrate their 15th birthday.