US visa processing system simplified

The US visa processing system has been modified with effect from Wednesday to simplify fee payment and appointment scheduling through a new website,www.ustraveldocs.com/in.

Visa applicants will be able to fill out applications forms through the new website, find out what documents are required, pay visa application fees, schedule an appointment for biometrics collection, and schedule an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate, according to an official statement.

Also, applicants will now be able to have their questions answered via telephone, email, or online chat.

Call center agents will answer questions in English, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Punjabi and Gujarati, during 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sunday.

There is no fee for calling the call center. Applicants can also email in English or Hindi, or chat directly through the new website during call center hours, the statement said.

It said more payment options have been made available. Applicants will have the option of paying their visa application fees by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or with a mobile phone.

They will also be able to pay in cash at over 1,800 Axis Bank branches. Within one hour of payment, applicants will receive an SMS message letting them know that their receipt as been activated, and they can proceed with scheduling their appointments.

Further, companies and travel agents are allowed to purchase multiple fee receipts for group travel.

Applicants will be able to schedule their appointments online through the new website or by calling the call center. The new system also accommodates the scheduling of group and emergency appointments.

First-time applicants will need to schedule two appointments – one for fingerprint collection, and one for a consular interview.

Prior to their visa interviews, applicants will have to visit an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to submit their fingerprints and a photo.

September 26, 2012



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