In what may come as good news to American visa applicants, the United States today announced that Indians who are renewing their visas, valid or expired, within four years, are likely to get waiver for a personal interview.
"This new programme will permit consular officers to waive interviews for some qualified applicants who are renewing their visa within 48 months or four years, of expiration of their previous visa and within the same classification as the previous visa," Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice Jacobs said.
The new rules will apply to those within categories of B1, B2, C and D.
Asked to specify the possible beneficiaries, Ms Jacobs, who is in the country for the 2nd US-India Consular Dialogue, said "it will apply for tourists, business travellers, crew members and for students."
"Beginning today, our consulates in India are introducing a new programme to streamline the visa renewal process," she said.
"Over time, this programme has the potential to benefit hundreds of thousands of visa applicants here in India," she added.
However, she also said not all applicants will be accepted for streamlined processing.
"India and US share mutual interest in global security and countering terrorism around the world. So, maintaining strict security standards in our visa process is a fundamental importance to all of our citizens.
"For that reason, our consular officers may request an applicant to appear in person for interview at any time for any reason during the visa application process," she said.