The U.S. Consulates in India recently implemented a new Visa application processing system to simplify the fee payment and appointment scheduling process. Beginning September 26, 2012, Visa applicants are able to pay application fees via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT), with their mobile phones, or in cash at more than 1,800 in Axis bank branches. For the first time, applicants are able to schedule their appointments on online at or by phone. Visa applicants will also be able to have their questions answered via telephone, e-mail or online chat. Under the new system, applicants will have to make 2 appointments. Prior to their Visa interviews, applicants will have to visit an Offsite Facility Center (OFC) to have their fingerprints and photos taken. The posts introduced the OFC to reduce congestion at the consulates and to “speed applicant processing.” However, most applicants will only visit an OFC once because the DOS retains the biometric data. The DOS stated that in 2011, the posts in India had experienced an 11% increase in the number of applicants over the previous year. However, the DOS stated that applicants wait fewer than 10 days for visa appointment and spend less than one hour at the consulate post for their interviews.