The US Embassy India is implementing a new visa processing system throughout India to standardize procedures and simplify fee payments and appointment scheduling for US visas through a new website. Beginning September 26, 2012, US visa applicants will be able to pay US visa application fees via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), with a mobile phone, or with cash at more than 1,800 Axis bank branches.
For the first time US visa applicants will be able to schedule their appointments online or by phone. The new visa processing system in India will also allow companies and travel agents to purchase multiple fee receipts for group travel, and it accommodates scheduling of group or emergency appointments.
US visa applicants in India can now ask questions 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 from 8:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00am to 6:00pm on Sunday. Call center numbers are:
US visa applicants can also email in English or Hindi, or they can chat directly from the website during call center hours.
One important change under the new system is that US visa applicants must make two appointments. Prior to their visa interviews, applicants must visit an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to submit fingerprints and a photograph. Located apart from the Embassy and Consulates in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, the OFCs will reduce congestion at US consular facilities and speed visa processing. Most applicants must visit an OFC only once.
In March 2012, the US Mission India announced the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) that allows applicants who meet certain criteria to be considered for waivers of personal interviews. Under the IWP and the new visa processing system, an increasing number of visa applicants will be able to complete all visa requirements without having to visit a US Embassy or Consulate at all.