The traditional practice of stamping or pasting U.S. visas on passport pages is set to be replaced by a ‘paperless’ system. A successful pilot project in Dublin paved the way for this significant shift.
The initiation of the ‘paperless’ visa system is anticipated to take approximately 18 months or possibly longer for widespread use. Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie Stufft expressed excitement about the successful pilot involving immigrant visas without physical documentation.
Future Integration of Visa Status App
As the project progresses, the future vision includes the development of an app or similar technology, enabling individuals to display their visa status without relying on physical paperwork. This innovative approach is generating significant enthusiasm.
Inclusion of Indian Applicants
Regarding Indian applicants, Stufft conveyed optimism, expressing a desire for Indian participation “as soon as possible.” However, she acknowledged the long-term nature of the project, suggesting widespread adoption might take another year or longer.
Distinguishing from E-Visas
It’s important to note that this ‘paperless’ visa initiative differs from India’s e-visas, primarily issued to tourists from specific countries.
Digital Visa Process Implementation
Detailing the implementation process, Stufft highlighted the progression from a small pilot in Dublin to branching out to various visa types. The initial focus on Dublin, with its airport facility and accessible U.S. officials, serves as a foundational step. The expansion will occur regionally and globally, with a gradual, piece-by-piece approach.