US eases visa rules for Indians

Indians who renew their US visas,valid or expired,within four years are likely to be exempted from personal interviews.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 22, 2012 3:48:12 am

Indians who renew their US visas,valid or expired,within four years are likely to be exempted from personal interviews.

“Beginning today,our consulates in India are introducing a new programme to streamline the visa renewal process. Over time,this programme has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of visa applicants here in India. This new programme will permit consular officers to waive interviews for some qualified applicants who are renewing their visa within 48 months or four years of expiration of their previous visa and within the same classification as the previous visa,” Janice Jacobs,the US Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs,who is here for the India-US consular dialogue,said on Wednesday.

The programme will benefit people with B1,B2,C and D visas. “It will apply for tourists,business travellers,crew members and for students,” Jacobs said.

Not all such visa-holders may be exempt from the interview,however. “India and the US share mutual interest in global security and countering terrorism… So,maintaining strict security standards in our visa process is of fundamental importance to all of our citizens. For that reason,our consular officers may request an applicant to appear in person for interview at any time for any reason during the visa application process,” Jacobs said.

In 2011,the US embassy processed more than 670,000 non-immigrant visa applications,an increase of 11 per cent over the previous year.

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