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US visa seekers cautioned against touts

Last Updated: Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 18:47

Chennai: Talking tough against fraudulent
methods to obtain American visa, the US Consulate General here
on Thursday said it would not tolerate such practices and also
warned genuine visa seekers from falling prey to touts.

"The proportion of false applicants (to genuine ones) is
high. We have no tolerance for fraud documents and other
fraudulent means to obtain a US visa and we are highly
successful in detecting them," US Consul General Andrew T
Simkin said.

Addressing a press conference here on the new online visa
application procedure for a non-immigrant visa, "DS-160", he
said consular officers were "highly successful in detecting
fraudulent documents and applicants with false stories."

Simkin said 80 per cent of the visa applicants receieved
visas while the rejections included both failure in meeting
stipulated requirements as well as fraudulent methods to
obtain the travel document.

Declining to quantify the number of fraudulent visa cases,
he said some "honest" applicants fell prey to "visa-fixers"
who managed to trick the gullible applicants by misleading
them with wrong facts regarding documents and the interview,
all for money.

"Be honest and meet all requirements," Bryan Dalton, Chief
of the Consular section, said adding the Consulate was
coordinating with Tamil Nadu Government officials against visa

On the salient features of applying for a visa through the
form DS-160, he said it was a "more streamlined, efficient and
smart process which required less paperwork as against the
previous procedures."

For instance, the "customised" system online would ask
questions related to the previous question answered by the
applicant while filling the form, making it easier for
officials to process the visa.

"If someone answers the first question that he is on a tour
of the US for education, the subsequent questions by the
system would be based on this subject only," Dalton said.

To prevent malpractices, the person who helped the
applicant (if he had no computer knowledge) fill up the form,
that person would also be required to register, allowing
officials to track him if a need arose.

The DS-160 format would come into effect from January 19
for appointments from February 1 onwards.

While there was no legal cap on the number of visas to be
provided by the Consulate, it was trying to facilitate visa
for all genuine applicants, Simkin said adding that waiting
time for an interview appointment had now been reduced to two

To a query, he said the Consulate had issued 558 visas a
day on average in 2009. There had been a dip in the previous
year following global economic downturn.


First Published: Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 18:47
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