Houston: With a view to streamline visa services for Indian Americans in major US cities, the Indian Consulate here has decided to outsource the application related processes, a move that follows recent protests by the community over delays in receiving visas.
The Consulate General of India, Houston, has outsourced the handling of Renunciation Certificates, PIO and OCI applications to Travisa Outsourcing agency, which is currently handling the visa applications, the Consulate office said.
The outsourcing arrangement will come into effect on February 1, 2011 for Renunciation Certificates and PIO applications, while OCI applications will be processed by Travisa from March 15.
For smooth transition, it has been decided that no renunciation and PIO applications will be received by the Consulate from January 18 to January 31, and for OCI from February 15 to March 14, it said.
There were protests from the Indian American community over delays in receiving visas after the introduction of the surrender certificate by the Indian government, recently.
"So far the Houston Consulate, issued over 21000 surrender certificates by the year end and over 10,000 OCI and PIO cards, in addition to over 60,000 Indian visas," Sanjiv Arora, Consulate General of India, Houston said.
"The outsourcing arrangement will not affect the applicants whose applications are already under process. Such applicants will continue to deal directly with the Consulate, including submission of additional documents and passports."
However, the applicants whose applications have been returned by the Consulate on account of any deficiency will have to resubmit the application to Travisa (and not to Consulate General of India, Houston) after addressing the deficiencies, he said.
Indian Passport holders are required to surrender them to the Consulate on acquisition of the United States citizenship and in turn they will be issued surrender/renunciation certificate and their passports will be cancelled and returned to them, Arora said.
Indian Passport holders, who acquired foreign citizenship before June 1, 2010, will be required to pay a fee of USD 20 for surrender certificate.
The Passport cannot be used for travel beyond three months after acquisition of foreign citizenship, a penalty for which is minimum USD 250.
The Houston Consulate, considered one of the top ten missions in the world, provides over 700 consular services on a daily basis to nine US states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. It serves over half a million Indian Americans.