Mumbai: The US Consulate announced that online US visa application process would be launched from February 1 next year.
The measure is aimed at ensuring paperless process while applying for visas, Consular Section chief David Tyler told reporters at the American Center here.
"The applicant would have to fill up visa papers electronically, answer a few questions online and approach the consulate with a print-out of a one-page confirmation with barcode," he said.
The new consulate building at Bandra-Kurla Complex here would be operational in summer next year, Tyler said. The consulate now operates from a leased premise in Breach Candy area.
The number of students from India to the US increased by nine per cent, from 94,563 to 103,260 during 2008-09, Tyler said. China and Korea have the second and third largest students studying in the US, he added.
India is leading for the last eight years in a row, he said, adding that the growth in number of Indian students per year is between five to ten per cent.
There was a slight drop in overall number of visa applicants last year in the backdrop of recession, but the number is picking up, he said.
The number of US visa applications was down by around 10 to 12 per cent worldwide last year, Tyler said. In western India, there was a drop of around 20 per cent, he added.
Security has always been a concern while processing visa applications, the senior diplomat said.
"Security is a concern, specially after the 9/11 terror attacks," he said. Measures like name checks, fingerprint verification for applicants between 14 and 80 years is undertaken, he said.