The U.S. Embassy in India has announced the implementation of a new visa processing system to standardize application procedures and simplify fee payments and appointment scheduling through a new website, www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
As of September 26, 2012, visa applicants are now able to pay their application fees via Electronic Fund Transfer, their mobile phone, or in cash at one of the 1,800 Axis bank branches located in India. Applicants are required to provide the receipt number from payment of the application fee as well as their DS-160 barcode number in order to schedule their appointments online or through the Call Center. Procedures regarding Form DS-160 have remained the same and can be found online at DS-160 Information.
Applicants may now schedule their appointments online or by contacting the Call Center. Under the new system, applicants now are required to make two appointments, one at the U.S. Consulate and another at an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC). Applicants will visit the OFC prior to their visa interview to submit their fingerprints and a photograph in hopes of reducing congestion at U.S. Consular facilities and to speed applicant processing. The new system also allows for companies and travel agents to purchase multiple fee receipts for group travel and accommodates the scheduling of group and emergency appointments.
All telephone and email queries are now handled through Stanley, the new multi-language call center. Visa applicants can contact Stanley via telephone, email, or online chat from 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. The numbers are (91-120) 660-2222 or (91-22) 6720-9400 in India or 1-310-616-5424 in the U.S. Call center agents in Noida and Hyderabad will answer questions in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu. Applicants can direct email queries in English or Hindi to firstname.lastname@example.org, or online chat at www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
In March, the U.S. Mission in India introduced the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) which allows eligible applicants to be considered for waivers of personal interviews. The IWP in connection with the new processing system, should allow an increasing number of applicants to complete all visa requirements without having to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. To find out if an applicant qualifies for IWP, please visit Interview Waiver Program for qualifying criteria and procedures.