The U.S. Embassy in India announced on September 5 that it is
implementing a new visa processing system at all U.S. consular
posts in India. The changes will impact fee payment and appointment
Changes to Appointment Scheduling
Effective September 26, 2012, individuals who need to make
consular visa appointments will be able to do so through a new
website here. Applicants will
also be able to schedule appointments through a call center. Call
center agents will answer questions in Hindi, English, Punjabi,
Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu. Call centers will be open from 8:00
a.m. to 8:00 p.m. IST on Monday through Friday and from 9:00 a.m.
to 6:00 p.m. IST on Sunday. The telephone numbers are (91 120) 660
2222 or (91 22) 6720 9400 in India or 1.310.616.5424 in the United
States. Applicants can email requests for appointments in English
or Hindi to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, or they can chat
with information agents directly on the new website during call
center hours. There is currently no fee for using the call center.
In addition, visa applicants will be able to pay visa application
fees via electronic fund transfer (EFT), through their mobile
telephones, or in cash at branches of Axis Bank and Citibank.
Separate Biometric Appointment
Under the new system, many first-time applicants and some
renewal applicants will have to make two appointments. Prior to
their visa interviews, many first-time applicants and a smaller
number of renewal applicants will have to visit an Offsite
Facilitation Center (OFC) to submit their fingerprints and a photo.
OFCs are located apart from the embassy and consulates in Delhi,
Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.
Under the new system, passports, visas, immigrant visa packets,
and other documents will be delivered to 33 document pickup
locations across India within a week at no charge. Applicants will
be asked to choose a delivery location when they schedule their
appointments and will be able to track the progress of their visa
application on the website. When documents are ready for pickup,
applicants will be notified via email and/or short message service
(SMS) on their mobile telephones.
Individual applicants and their employers should factor into
their planning the need for two separate appointments as well as
the potential for delays or glitches as this new system is
implemented. We will monitor developments in this area and publish
additional Immigration Alerts as warranted.
Copyright 2012. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights
This article is provided as a general informational service
and it should not be construed as imparting legal advice on any
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