U.S. Introducing New System For Visa Application, Norms Eased For Children

08 Nov 2012


Immigration News

Setting up an office in Bangalore to process U.S. visas is a “very big, expensive” decision that has to be taken in Washington D.C., Nicholas Manring, Chief of Consular Services of the American Consulate General, Chennai, has said.

He was referring to the demands from people in this region for setting up a visa office in Bangalore as they are forced to spend more than two days in Chennai to obtain visa.

‘No plans now’

He was speaking on U.S. visas at the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in the city on Wednesday. The Chennai office has no control over such decisions, he said, and added, “I don’t know of any plans right now, but it may happen.”

During the talk, a member of the audience said the present system required one to travel from Mangalore to Chennai and stay there for two days or more, which was cumbersome or requires two trips. She asked whether it was possible to have a single appointment instead of two separate appointments (one for biometrics collection at an offsite facilitation centre and another for a visa interview at the American embassy or consulate).

Mr. Manring said while he appreciated the problem, the system required such processes.

New website

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in India were introducing a new visa processing system, he said. The new website for visa applications is: www.ustraveldocs.com/in and the new e-mail ID is: support-india@ustraveldocs.com

Under the interview waiver programme (IWP), children up to the age of seven were not required to attend the interview. The exemption would be extended up to the age of 14, he said.

At the press conference, he said the application process would remain the way it was because that was the way the system got the required information from people. “Yes, the software is difficult,” he said, and added that he would tell persons concerned in Washington to make it easier for people.

The officials look for economic wellbeing, jobs, and family ties to see whether the person seeking the visa would return or would want to stay back in the U.S. “There is no silver bullet (to get the visa), an officer makes a decision based on the complete story articulated at the window,” he said.

Adam Kotkin, Visa Vice-Consul, said it did not matter whether or not the person spoke English. Mr. Manring said it was only in the case of students whose universities might ask that they have a certain level of fluency in English that it was required. The most important factor was the applicant himself (or herself), he said.

50 per cent from State

According to a presentation made by Mr. Manring, 10 per cent of all non-immigrants visa applications were from India and that there were 1, 03,000 students studying in the U.S. About 50 per cent of the applicants at the U.S. visa office in Chennai are from Karnataka and most of them are from Bangalore.

In the last 12 months, the Chennai office has processed 2, 36,000 visas, including several business visas. It is an increase of 1.4 per cent from the last year.

One-third of all classes of U.S. visas processed in India were in Chennai. Further, 2, 36,000 non-immigrant visas were processed in Chennai in the last 12 months and an overwhelming majority of them were granted. Twenty-five per cent of all H1B categories of visas issued by the U.S. worldwide are given in Chennai.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/karnataka/us-introducing-new-system-for-visa-application-norms-eased-for-children/article4074952.ece


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