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Visa norms eased for US visitors --for general awareness

MUMBAI: The US embassy has eased visa application norms for Indians wishing to visit the US.In a move aimed to provide relief to Indians wishing to travel to the US for business and leisure, the US embassy has eased visa application norms.
According to the new rules, children under seven do not have to appear for a non-immigrant visa interview after their visa forms are submitted. While re-applying for visas, people will not have to pay visa again if their previous requests had been kept on hold or shown pendingfor various reasons under section 221g of US visa rules. With the consulatbane opening almost 42 windows, the waiting time for visa interviews has also been reduced to an hour, instead of the earlier three hours.

The consulate has upgraded their emergency appointment module under which applicants will receive an automated email, notifying them the status of their requests. The consulate shared the information at an interactive session with travel agents. tnn, some whom were also members ofVisit-USA committee at the consulate office in the BKC.
The session was held to explain the relaxed visa norms to travel agents and who in turn, can facilitate legitimate travel for their clients.
Though they welcomed the initiative, many travel agents still had doubts about many of the norms. They pointed out instances visas being denied to parents of only children staying in the US.
At times, students were denied visa for further studies though he had earlier visited the country as a tourist. Some said there was resentment among travellers due to the interview sessions which tend to be a bit personal.
Allaying their fears, US consular officials said they were stray cases. "It depends on how the applicants convince visa officers about the genuineness of their visits," a consular officer said.

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