The U.S. Mission to India announced that it is discontinuing its Business Executive Program (BEP) on April 1, 2015, indicating the program is no longer necessary due to improvements to its standard visa appointment system. Since the 1990s, the BEP has provided a dedicated appointment system (among other benefits) to companies with Indian offices that need a significant number of U.S. business visas. After April 1, employees of companies that are enrolled in BEP will be required to make appointments through the appointment contractor, just like all other visa applicants. Applicants with urgent business needs will have to apply for expedited appointments. The U.S. Consulates in India will honor all BEP appointments that are scheduled to take place after the April 1 shutdown date.