Indians bound for America can now expect to face lesser procedural hassles, with the US embassy mobilising additional resources to eliminate by the year-end the waiting period for visa interviews which at present goes up to six months.
The US mission is also working to expand its Business Executive Programme (BEP) under which visas of company employees are processed on priority basis. This will involve expansion of the list of companies entitled for the facility.
"We are sensitive to the inconvenience and long waits for appointments which have characterised our visa processing system in recent months," US Ambassador David C Mulford told reporters after inaugurating new visa appointment system at the Embassy.
A similar system, under which the applicants waitlisted for the visa appointments can advance their appointments, has been initiated in American consulates general in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
Acknowledging that the prolonged waiting period was giving a "bad name" to the US, Mulford said "We have made a mission-wide commitment to reduce the waiting time for a visa appointment, with the goal of eliminating this waiting period altogether."
He said all those applicants, who have already got an appointment, should visit the embassy's appointment website to advance their schedule.
Additional manpower has been put at the embassy and consulates to clear the backlog and at least 12 officers are being sent from Washington for the purpose.