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     New Delhi, September 05, 2012: The United States Embassy in India today announced it was implementing a new visa processing system throughout the country that would further standardize procedures and simplify fee payment and appointment scheduling through a new website. 

     Beginning September 26, 2012 U S visa applicants would be able to pay application fees via Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or with their mobile phones. They can also pay in cash at more than 1,800 Axis bank branches, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Julia Stanley said.

     The new visa processing system would be implemented through a new website 

     For the first time, applicants would be able to schedule their appointments online or by phone.  The new system would also allow companies and travel agents to purchase multiple fee receipts for group travel, and accommodate the scheduling of group and emergency appointments.

     Visa applicants would be able to have their questions answered via telephone, email, or online chat.  Call center agents in Noida and Hyderabad would answer questions in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu, Stanley said in a statement.

     Call centers would be opened 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sunday.  The 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 in English or Hindi at, or they can chat with them directly from the website ( during call center hours.

     One important change was that under the new system, applicants would have to make two appointments.  Prior to their visa interviews, applicants would have to visit an Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to submit their fingerprints and a photo. 

     Located apart from the Embassy and Consulates in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai, the OFCs would reduce congestion at U S consular facilities and speed applicant processing. Most applicants would need to visit an OFC only once, the statement clarified.

     In March, the U S Mission in India introduced the Interview Waiver Program (IWP) that allowed applicants, who meet certain criteria, to be considered for waivers of personal interviews.  Under the IWP and the new processing system, an increasing number of applicants would be able to complete all visa requirements without having to visit a U S Embassy or Consulate at all.

     In 2011, consular officers in India processed nearly seven lakh nonimmigrant visa applications, an increase of more than 11 per cent over the previous year. Currently, applicants wait fewer than ten days for visa interview appointments and spend less than one hour at U S consular facilities in India, it said.

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