View Full Version : Biometric mapping soon for U.S. visas

05-19-2004, 09:58 AM
CHENNAI, MAY 18. Biometric mapping for U.S. visa applications will soon be introduced in all consulate offices in the country, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Maura Harty, said today.

The impressions of both the index fingers of the applicant would be collected to ensure against impersonation. The applicant must register the index finger impression in a specially-installed box. The information would be transmitted to the United States and response would be sent back, helping the authorities clear or reject the visa application. ``We are making sure that the person has never received a visa by any other name,'' said Ms. Harty.

The index finger impression registered at the regional consular office must be the same as that registered at the port of entry in the U.S. While the process would be started in July-end, by October 26, biometric mapping would be made mandatory for all visa applicants. There were hundreds of cases of imposters who tried to enter the U.S. fraudulently. This preventive measure would be executed at all U.S. consulates across the world.

Ms. Harty was participating in a discussion on student visas in the city. Highlighting the U.S. efforts to facilitate visa applications for students with a special focus on India, she said, ``We wanted to come to India, because we have a robust growing relationship.'' She allayed fears of security threats post-September 11.

The U.S. wanted to make sure that all students with valid I-20 documents and visas made it to the college campus in time for the academic term.

Special arrangements had been made for students, facilitating an easy visa application process.

There were special timings for students, they were sometimes advanced in the line and appointments were done away with. These were some of the special features.

Chennai Consulate officers said 20 per cent of all interviews through summer were for students.

They said the appointment slots for August were opened yesterday.

Students of Indian origin topped the list of international students in the U.S., said Ms. Harty.

In 2002-03, nearly 13 per cent of the 5,86,323 international students studying in the U.S. were from India, which also occupied the top slot in 2001-02.

Source : Hindu