Chennai, Nov 10 (UNI) The US Consulate General, Chennai today said there were no shortcuts to obtain a visa to travel to the United States and warned of criminal action against those submitting fake documents for seeking the same.
In a statement here, the Consulate said there was a simple path to obtain visas if the applicants follow three guidelines of using official information, presenting only genuine documents and tell the truth during the visa interview with the Consular Officer.
The clarifications from the US Consulate comes close on the heels of the arrest of the Saravana Bhavan chain of Hotel owner's son R Shivakumar in human trafficking case to the US.
Citing the recent detection of the fraudulent visa applications, the US Consulate General in Chennai appealed to the applicants to obtain complete information about visa requirements and the visa application process from the Consulate General website http://chennai.usconsulate.gov and VFS (Visa Facilitation Services, the Consulate's authorised visa appointment services provider (website: http://www.vfs-usa.co.in).
It also urged the applicants to submit genuine documents and avoid documents being sold by vendors or brokers, mention the truth in all visa forms and during the visa interview.
While the US government encourages legitimate travel to America, it was also pleased by the increasing volume of travel between India and USA.
''However, we must caution that visa requirements have not been relaxed and scrutiny remains high. Fraud in a visa application may constitute a criminal offence under the US and Indian laws, leading to possible criminal prosecution'', it said.
The US Consulate said the authorites were taking action against the accused in the case of apparent fraud in seeking US Visas and that the Consulate was cooperating with the investigating agencies.
Though the US consulate did not disclose the identity of the accused, it was apparently referring to the arrest of Saravana Bhavan owner Rajagopal's son R Shivakumar for his involvement in human trafficking to the Unied States by sending people to its hotels in the US by submitting fake documents.
Acting on a complaint from the US Consulate, the CB-CID police had arrested Shivakumar and remanded him in judicial custody yesterday.
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