The latest news about the US visa application and renewal process is just like a bolt out of the blue. The United States announced to make its visa application procedure shorter and easier for Indians starting this September. There is more to it, which will make you pinch yourself to believe the news is not all a dream.
Certain Indian passport holders can even apply to seek a waiver from the obligation of appearing for the visa interview, starting September 1. In a communication to the US visa application centers across India, the US Consulate said that this measure is taken to decrease turnaround times for visa renewals and enhance customer service standards to efficiently handle visa requests from across India.
According to the US Consulate, senior citizens above 79 years in age and children under the age of 14 can qualify for an exemption from the obligatory interview while making a US visa application, starting September 1. (The US visa interview waiver is subject to certain conditions)
The initiative for Indian nationals applying for US visas requires them to book an appointment with one of the eleven US visa application centers in India and leave their passport and visa application documents there, starting September 1. The visa application center where an eligible applicant gets an appointment date to drop off his/her documents will review the document checklist at the time of accepting the application or before sending it to the US Embassy or Consulate.
A decision on the application will be communicated to the applicant in seven to ten business days from the date of submission. Once an applicant submits the documents to one center, the application will not be transferred to the other center. An applicant’s request for the US visa interview waiver may not be entertained in certain cases, the US Consulate said. Whether applicants, applying for the interview waiver, are required to appear for an interview will be notified in advance.
The United States’ share of the global travel market has been on a decline since 2015, which has stripped the US economy of $59 billion in international traveler spending and killed 120,000 jobs in the US, according to the US Travel Association.
Notably, Indians are among the world’s highest spenders abroad. Indians ranked the sixth highest spending visitors in the United States. They spend more time during their US vacations as compared to US nationals on visit to India, according to the 2017 data analysis by the US Travel Association.
“Since June 2019, it has been officially compulsory for certain visa applicants to share their social media details and employment history before they appear for the interview at a US Consulate, as part of the Trump administration’s extreme vetting policy. In the latest US visa news for Indian passport holders, there is no hint to whether the US government’s extreme vetting policy will be relaxed to make the process shorter and easier,” said the chief travel specialist from IndianEagle.com, a leading travel booking portal for cheap flights to India from USA.