New Delhi, Oct 11 (UNI) To facilitate visa processing for Indians travelling to the US, the US Embassy has decided to introduce paperless electronic visa processing service at all its Consulates in the country.
''In addition, all customer service centers will also be equipped to receive biometric data, which would ease the identity procedures for granting visas,'' said Maura Harty, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs.
There is an increasing need for Indians to travel to the US for business and education purposes. Given this, it is only timely that the US Consulate has decided to ease the visa granting process in the country.
''The Embassy has already issued 7,25,000 visas in the current financial year, which is 58 per cent higher than the number of visas issues in the previous year,'' Ms Harty stated.
Talking about the long waiting time during peak seasons and lack of sufficient consulates in South India, Ms Harty said that the Bureau of Consular Affairs has decided to open an office in Hyderabad to facilitate Indians in the region to travel to the US.
The existing offices are also in the expansion mode with more than 100 million dollars investment in the pipeline.
''The capacity of the New Delhi visa section will be doubled with an investment of seven million dollars, alongwith a new fully-equipped building entailing an investment of 100 million dollars.'' The Embassy would also increase the manpower strength to meet the expanded capacity, Ms Harty added.
There is a growing need for increasing out visa related issue so as to facilitate business travel between India and US, which is on an increase given the increase in trade and investment between the two countries, said Ms Harty.