CHENNAI: If your US visa is up for renewal, you don’t need to attend an interview to get it done. But there is a rider: you should have already got all your 10 fingerprints recorded. Else, the interview waiver scheme won’t apply, informed US consular chief Lawrence Mire during a media tour of the US Consulate General’s Consular section here on Thursday.
When the process of scanning fingerprints of US visa applicants began in August 2004, both index fingers alone were scanned. Since 2008, it became mandatory for visa applicants to get all fingerprints recorded.
“Those who have got visa after August 1, 2004 but before January 1, 2008 and submitted two prints have to make an appointment at our Chennai Visa Application Center where you can have your fingerprints taken and drop off your renewal application,” Mire said. But those below 14 years and above 80 years of age exempt from the process, he added.
“Our goal is to facilitate legitimate travel to the US. Already this year we have sent over two lakh travellers to the US. This means as many as 1,500 visas per day,” he said.
Till now, the consulate here has given 13,500 visas under the new scheme. Fingerprint recording was introduced to strengthen the US immigration tracking system at major airports. The US senate panel approved the biometric tracking system at all US air, sea and land ports of entry last year.
Mire urged students to schedule their visa interviews 120 days prior to report date mentioned on their I-20 form. “Some applications may require additional administrative processing,” he said.