The US embassy in New Delhi has eased the visa application rules for Indians traveling to the US. The applicants will now have different options to make payments and to make appointments.
The United States embassy in New Delhi announced on Wednesday a new visa processing system under which Indians travelling to the US can have easier visa procurement and fee payment system.
"The new visa processing system will streamline appointment scheduling, simplify fee payments and provide the applicants with new delivery options. Under our new system, we have more payment options available for visa application fees," said Julia Stanley, minister counselor for consular affairs.
While the changes in procedure are a part of global support strategy program by US state department across the world, the new system will be implemented in India on Sept 26.
Under the new system, the US visa applicants will be able to pay application fees through electronic fund transfer, mobile phones and collect their documents from 33 document pick-up locations in the country.
The moves comes after the launch of interview waiver program back in March which allowed certain qualified applicants to renew their visas without coming for the interview.
In 2011, the US consular office processed around 700,000 visa applications witnessing an increase of 11 percent over 2010.According to Stanley, a significant change in the processing system is that applicants will need to schedule two appointments -- one for fingerprint collection at an Offsite Facilitation Centre and one for consular interview at the Embassy or consulates.
The consulate has also launched its new website in Hindi and English where applicants can also track their application status."Applicants can also contact us, schedule their appointments through telephone, e-mail or online chat. The call centre service, free for all, can answer questions in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil and Telugu," Stanley added.
Applicants renewing their visa may not have to give their fingerprints more than once.