The number of business visas has also increased: Consul, American Consulate General
The number of applications for student visas from South India to the U.S. went up by 17 per cent in the past 12 months, according to Nicholas J. Manring, Consul, American Consulate General, Chennai.
Speaking to The Hindu during his visit to Madurai on Friday, Mr. Manring said the number of business visas from South India had increased by 11 per cent. However, there was no significant increase in the number of tourists visiting the U.S. from South India.
Elaborating on the changes introduced in visa application procedures, Mr. Manring said applicants renewing their visas could apply for a waiver of the personal interview process.
“We have expanded the payment facility to 1800 Axis Bank branches across India. We have also introduced an offsite centre, where biometric identification process and application review will be conducted,” he said. The consulate has also introduced a new system of delivery of documents, including passports, visas, and immigrant visa packets. The documents could be collected at 33 document pick up locations across India at no charge. For a charge of Rs. 300, they would be delivered at the applicant’s doorstep, he added.
“The changes were introduced to make the visa acquiring process easier for the applicants. On an average, each officer in the consul interviews 100 applicants every day. On an average, 1100-1150 visa applications are processed every day and a maximum of them are accepted,” said Mr. Manring.
“Forty per cent of the visa applicants from South India are from Tamil Nadu. The U.S. Consulate in Chennai is America’s 12th largest visa office in the world,” he added.
Earlier, Mr. Manring participated in an interactive session with students at Thiagarajar College of Engineering.
“The students who participated in the session evinced keen interest in pursuing their post graduation in America”, he said. Mr. Manring advised students applying for visas to come prepared for the personal interview and choose the right type of visa.
Michelle L. Zjhra, Vice-Consul, was also present. Later in the evening, Mr Manring addressed a meeting organised by the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.