US visas to go ‘paperless’ soon: No stamping on passports from next year. 3 things you need to know | Mint
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Business News/ News / World/  US visas to go ‘paperless’ soon: No stamping on passports from next year. 3 things you need to know
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US visas to go ‘paperless’ soon: No stamping on passports from next year. 3 things you need to know

The Biden administration has completed a pilot project for issuing 'paperless visas', eliminating the need for physical visas in passports, according to an official.

Biden Administration Plans to Roll Out 'Paperless Visas'Premium
Biden Administration Plans to Roll Out 'Paperless Visas'

The US visas will soon go ‘paperless’, completely eliminating the traditional practice of stamping or pasting visas on passport pages. 

Recently, the Biden administration concluded a successful pilot project for "paperless visas" at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Dublin and plans to gradually implement this digital visa system, marking a significant shift in visa processing.

Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, said, "We did our first small scope pilot of a paperless visa, which means that the visa process is the same but there's no physical visa in someone's passport. We just piloted this for the first time, so this is not something that's going to be happening in the next year." 

When will the ‘paperless visa’ process start?

“It will take us probably 18 months to have widespread use of this or longer. But it is very exciting that we have had this first step where we have actually seen visitors come through and, in this case, they were immigrant visas without a physical paper in their passports," she said

"That will ultimately, in the future, as some other countries do, require an app or something that allows people to show their visa status without the physical paper in their passport. We are very, very excited about that," she said.

Can Indians also apply?

Stufft told PTI, "I hope as soon as possible." 

"But this is a long-term project that we have just piloted for the first time. I think we will see widespread use of this not for another year or so, or maybe longer," she said.

This is not like e-visas issued by India to nationals of certain countries, mostly to tourists. 

How the digital visa process will be implemented? 

Speaking about the process further, Stufft noted, "We have already done the small pilot. Now we are branching out to other types of visas. We started with our embassy in Dublin. Because there is an airport facility there with US officials who could check it before someone boarded a plane. We fully expect to expand that regionally and throughout the world. It will be piece by piece though." 

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published: 29 Nov 2023, 07:34 AM IST
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