37 minutes for 'visa power'

37 minutes for 'visa power'

People applying for various types of visas, “no longer need to wait for long hours” outside the US consulate building here  as the streamlining the process from one hour to 37 minutes per person.

In both, the pre-screening section and the visa issuing section, the “queue flow” system obviates the need for applica­nts to stand in a long line, Bryon Dalton, US Consular Officer in Chennai said on Thursday.

“Applicants can now wait in air-conditioned comfort as the numbers generated against each one of them pops up on a screen telling to which window they should proceed to for their work,” Dalton said.

This new system has also helped to avoid “confusion of milling around” counters, even as the finger printing is done electronically without any undue hassle for the applicant. The elderly and disables people are given wheel chairs, even those who look ill and require immediate attention are looked after.

“This is in continuation of our first step of introducing the procedure of applying for visas online, said Dalton. The ‘DS-160’, as it is called in the US co­nsulate parlance has been working well and has considerably reduced the time the applicant spends with us,” he noted.

According to Dalton, language should no longer pose a barrier for any applicant.

Translation facilities are available in all the South Indian languages—Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu— besides Hindi and Urdu at the Chennai consulate office.

“More than 1.03 lakh Indian students are currently studying at various US Universities, which was more than any other country except China,” he said. Consequently priority was being given to students applying for studies this year in the US.

The US Consulate Office in Chennai in 2010 issued 1,42,565 non-immigrant visas in 2010, the highest among the US five consular Missions in India.

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