A swanky new office of the US Consulate General is coming up at Nanakramguda in the financial district of Cyberabad. Spread across a sprawling 12.3-acre site, the new consular facilities will have the capacity to accommodate upto 2,500 visa applicants daily. Currently, the office is one of the busiest which accommodates around 1,000 visa applicants every day.
According to a statement issued, the new campus is expected to be ready for operations by the end of 2021.
The Hyderabad district of the US Consulate General stands at number 2 in the world in terms of H1B visas issued. Meanwhile, as far as the number of student visa applications issued, the district stands number 1 in the country and among top 10 in the world.
We celebrated progress of construction at our new consulate site in #Hyderabad. It will include 54 visa windows! CG Reifman shared the space with visiting Director of #OfficeforIndiaAffairs Laura Stone & discussed our strong U.S.-India partnership in Telangana with @jayesh_ranjan pic.twitter.com/45CCmptS7i
— U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad (@USAndHyderabad) January 17, 2020
While the current consular section has 16 functioning interview windows, it will now be increased to 54 in the new building and will also feature air-conditioned waiting areas for applicants apart from a parking lot.
Since 2009, when it was established, the US Consulate General has been working out of the historic Paigah palace in Chiran fort club lane in Begumpet. Until then it was the head office of the then Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA).
The Hyderabad Consular District caters to three states—Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. Even as the office completed its 10 years in Hyderabad in 2019, crunch for office space and infrastructural limitations of working out of a heritage building were issued often raised as something that could be overcome with completion of new premises.
At present, Hyderabad houses the largest campuses of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple outside of the US. Though the new campus is over 20 km away from the present one, its location in the heart of Cyberabad is being considered an added advantage.
The new campus is also expected to have all associated departments of the US government under one roof unlike the present situation, where most departments function out of varied locations.
At present, for example, the US Commercial Services which offers assistance to help US businesses export goods and services to India functions out of Hotel Taj Deccan. Similarly, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is likely to have an office at the new campus in Hyderabad. The United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), which offers free counseling on opportunities to study in the US, will have a bigger office. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(USCDC) which currently works out of Hotel Taj Deccan is also likely to move into the new campus.
Earlier, the U.S. Consul General, Joel Reifman, inspected the progress of work at the new site on January 17. The official handle of the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad tweeted :
When @USAndHyderabad moves to its new home in two years, not only the buildings will be stunning. Just as much attention is being paid to our landscaping, which will be wonderful and contribute to #HarithaHaram. Here’s our special nursery, where plants are already being grown. pic.twitter.com/HZxuo2ECuR
— Joel Reifman (@USCGHyderabad) May 20, 2019
“The new US Consulate demonstrates our commitment to the environment and local culture,” said Consul General Joel Reifman, in a statement. “It is a powerful symbol of the ever-growing and important U.S.-India relationship, particularly between the United States and our consular district of the three states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha,” he added
With the commencement of operations from the new campus, the Consulate is expected to see an increase in its staff as well as outreach activities. As it was clarified earlier that there would not be another Consulate for Andhra Pradesh or Odisha, activities of the Consulate such as outreach programmes, awareness campaigns on women and gender issues, collaborations with NGOs and the government are expected to increase in the region.
A combined workforce of over 1,000 American, Indian, and third-country workers are involved in the construction project, which is expected to “top out” (i.e., construction will reach its highest point of structural completion) in March 2020.
The new building is being designed in size and scope accommodate the expansion of business and cultural ties as the Consulate plans to hold various diplomatic events at the campus in the future. Considered a sustainable project which will integrate energy-saving principles, it will reflect the unique topography of the city.
The new campus will use solar arrays and have amenities like wastewater treatment plant, and feature a permanent art collection curate by the US Department Office of Art in embassies.
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