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New US visa appli process from Sep 14

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Staff Reporter
The US Embassy in Dhaka is going to introduce a new visa application process on September 14 simplifying the interview appointment schedule, fee collection and visa pickup.
“In an effort to provide better service to our customers, we’ve made several changes in the visa appointment process,” US acting assistant secretary for consular affairs Michele Thoren Bond said on Monday.
She was briefing reporters over the new visa application system at the American Center.
On completion of heir visa applications online, all Bangladeshis very soon will also schedule their visa interview appointments online, with clear instructions in both Bangla and English, she added.
The visiting US official said in addition to Bangladesh’s growing middle class and active expatriate community in the United States, more Bangladeshis than ever are applying for visas.
“Throughout 2013, the US Embassy in Dhaka received nearly triple the number of nonimmigrant visa applications than in the prior year, and we issued over 30,000 visas to Bangladeshis last year,” she added.
According to the new system, applicants will now be able to apply for their visas through a new website, www.USTravelDocs.com.bd and be able to book interview appointments through the website.
The new website, supported by a new call centre, will make visa application easier by providing information in both Bangla and English at a single location.
Previously, applicants would apply online but schedule appointments in person at Saimon Overseas.
The applicants will be able to arrange both individual and group appointment bookings as well as obtain application instructions, important information and answers to frequently-asked questions.
It will also be more convenient for applicants to pay their visa fees. Once they have filled out their visa applications and scheduled their interviews, they can then pay their application fees at select HSBC locations in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Sylhet, Mymensingh, and Chittagong.
They can pay in cash (in dollars or taka), and will receive a fee receipt valid for one year.
Applicants now can retrieve their visas from Saimon offices in Chittagong and Sylhet in addition to the existing retrieval option in Dhaka.
US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena and Consul General Eizabeh Gourlay were present at the press briefing.