Sep 20, 2012
You may have seen news reports lately about a new system we will begin using for processing visas. We wanted to take a moment to offer more details to all of you. We will also explain these changes at an event on Sept. 27 in commemoration of World Tourism Day. You will receive an invitation to that event separately; please be sure to come early, as entry will be determined on a “first come first served” basis.
On September 26, U.S. consular offices in India will adopt changes to their visa application process. These changes create one worldwide standard for applying for a U.S. visa. Travel companies and their client applicants can benefit from these new processes.
Starting Sept. 26, visa applicants will be able to pay fees using cash, electronic funds transfers or payment via mobile phone. Applicants will also be able to make payments at more than 1,800 Axis, Citibank and Bank of America locations throughout India, replacing the existing relationship with HDFC Bank.
A new online appointment system will enable scheduling of both individual and group appointments. Travel companies will also have the option to purchase bulk appointment receipts, which they can use to schedule appointments as necessary. Each applicant will require two appointments, one for fingerprints/photos and one for the visa interview itself. Beginning September 26, you can begin scheduling new appointments under the new process at www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
Before appearing for a visa interview, applicants will go to a separate facility to provide fingerprints and photos. Those who later receive visas may never need to do this again. Having these separate facilities will allow us to process many more visa applications than we do now with shorter wait times for applicants. Applicants across India are free to use any of these facilities:
Chennai: No. 3, Cenotaph Road, Teynampet, Chennai - 600018.
New Delhi: S-1 American Plaza (Hotel Eros managed by Hilton), International Trade Tower, Nehru Place, New Delhi - 110019.
Mumbai: Trade Center, Gr. Floor, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai - 400051.
Kolkata: Jasmine Tower, 31, Shakespeare Sarani (1st Floor), Kolkata - 700017.
Hyderabad: 502, Gowra Grand, S.P. Road, Begumpet, Secunderabad - 500003.
Visa applicants and their authorized representatives will now be able to collect their visas at no cost from one of 33 convenient and secure Blue Dart locations around India. Home delivery service will be available for an additional fee. Locations of the Blue Dart facilities will be posted at www.ustraveldocs.com/in. Applicants will have a visa interview only after submitting fingerprints and photos. These interviews will occur 1-14 days after the fingerprint/photo visit.
Effective immediately, Indian visa applicants renewing a Business/Tourism (B1 and/or B2) visa may apply for a waiver of the personal interview. B1/B2 visa holders with visas that are still valid or that have expired within the past 48 months may request this interview waiver during the online visa application process. Under the new system, all documents associated with interview waiver applications can be submitted to 11 of the Blue Dart locations used for visa pickup, the locations of which will be posted at www.ustraveldocs.com/in. If your existing visa was granted after Nov. 1, 2008, you may not need to go to one of the fingerprint/photo facilities, meaning you could renew your visa without ever visiting any of our Consulates or the Embassy. Complete information about the interview waiver program will be posted at www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
Children seven years of age and younger are not required to appear for a non-immigrant visa interview at any post in India. Facilitating legitimate travel, for business or pleasure, is a top priority for Consular Team India. We hope these changes will provide an even better experience for your applicants. In the coming weeks, we will be holding outreach events to further explain these changes and answer any questions you may have.
For the first time, applicants will be able to schedule their appointments online or by phone. The new system will also allow companies and travel agents to purchase multiple fee receipts for group travel, and it accommodates the scheduling of group and emergency appointments.
Visa applicants will be able to have their questions answered via telephone, email, or online chat. Call center agents in Noida and Hyderabad will answer questions in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu. Call centers will be open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sunday. The numbers are (91-120) 660-2222 or (91-22) 6720-9400 in India or 1-310-616-5424 in the United States. Applicants can email in English or Hindi at firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can chat with us directly from our website (www.ustraveldocs.com/in) during call center hours.