July 20, 2012

7 Steps to Apply for an Indian Passport

Hope everyone aware that one can apply for an Indian Passport Online now. I personally saw how difficult it would be to get an Indian Passport. However, it's good to know the Ministry of External Affairs finally introduced passport online application system. I would like to show the 7 steps of applying for an Indian Passport online.

1. Log on to the website "www.passportindia.gov.in"
2. Create your User ID, Password and make sure to keep the credentials safe.
3. Fill and Submit the application form online (You can also scan and upload relevant supporting documents) or Download the e-form, fill and upload the same at the website "www.passportindia.gov.in".
4. Note the Application Reference Number (ARN), schedule an appointment and take print out of Appointment Slip.
5. Visit the designated Passport Seva Kendra (PSK).
6. Applicant's presence is mandatory along with all original documents and photocopies as required. Your photograph will be captured at the PSK.
7. You could be able to track the status of your application or get any assistance by calling the call centre at 1800-258-1800 or by logging on to www.passportindia.gov.in

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Scam Alerts: Beware of the Immigration Scams

The American Immigration Lawyers Association ("AILA") has received reports of a new scam potentially victimizing aliens. According to one report, the individual will receive a call purporting to be from a USCIS officer, who will have certain correct information on the individual, including the individual's name and address. The caller will state that there is some discrepancy in USCIS records, and ask for confirmation of data, such as an I-94 number, an "A" number, or a visa control number. The caller will then tell the individual that there is a penalty for not clearing up the discrepancy, and that the individual is to send a sum of money via Western Union, to an address the caller provides. Be on alert if you or any one you know receives such calls, and if they do, report them to appropriate law enforcement authorities, which may include the FBI, and to the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, whose Consumer Sentinel database is accessed by criminal and civil law enforcement authorities worldwide.

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July 18, 2012

US Eases Visa Norms on Visiting and Business Visas

The US has eased visa application norms for Indians wishing to travel to the country for business and leisure.

Children under seven years of age are not required to appear for a non-immigrant visa interview after completed visa form is submitted. An applicant would not have to pay visa fees again if he reapplies after his application had been earlier kept on hold or shown pending for various reasons under section 221g of US visa rules.

In Mumbai, the US consulate has opened over 40 windows. This has reduced the waiting time for a visa interview with a consular officer to one hour as compared to three hours earlier.

The consulate has further upgraded its emergency appointment module for applicants seeking visas in case of unforeseen travel. Such applicants would get an automated email text reply notifying the status of their request made for emergency appointment.

The consulate shared this information at an interactive session held with travel agents, some of who are also members of Visit-USA committee at the consulate office in Bandra Kurla Complex. The session was held to explain relaxed visa norms to travel agents and who in turn can facilitate legitimate travel for their clients.

Though they welcomed the US initiative, many travel agents still had concerns to many visa norms. They pointed out instances of the consulate denying visas to parents if their only son or daughter were residing in US. At times, students were denied visa for further studies though they had earlier visited the country as tourists. Some said there was resentment among travelers due to the interview sessions which tend to be a bit personal.

US consular officials tried to allay fears, saying such instances are stray cases. " We process almost 1,500 applicants a day. So, it depends on how the applicants are able to convince the visa officer the genuineness of his proposed visit. There have been instances where applicants have fudge data," said a consular officer.

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July 15, 2012

New Score Select Option let you report Your Best GRE Score.

The new ScoreSelectSM option will be available, starting in July 2012, for both the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests, and can be used by anyone with reportable scores from the last five years.

The new ScoreSelect option lets you decide which GRE scores from your reportable history to send to the institutions you designate. Now you can send the scores that you feel reflect your personal best.

Whether you plan to take the GRE revised General Test or a GRE Subject Test again — or simply wish to send Additional Score Reports to other institutions, you can take advantage of the ScoreSelect option.
Here's how New Score Select Option works:
On test day, when viewing your scores at the test center*, you can select the:
  • ScoreSelect Most Recent option — Send your scores from your current test administration (FREE).
  • ScoreSelect All option — Send your scores from all test administrations in the last five years (FREE).
You can decide which option to use for each of your four free score reports.
After test day, you can send Additional Score Reports for a fee by selecting from the following:
  • ScoreSelect Most Recent option — Send your scores from your most recent test administration.
  • ScoreSelect All option — Send your scores from all test administrations in the last five years.
  • ScoreSelect Any option — Send your scores from one OR many test administrations in the last five years.
Scores for a test administration must be reported in their entirety. Regardless of whether you choose the Most Recent, All or Any option, you will select specific test administration dates so your scores are all from the same testing session. Institutions will receive score reports that show only the scores that you selected to send to them. There will be no special indication if you have taken additional GRE tests.
And, starting July 1, 2012, the policy for retaking a test will also be updated. You will be able to take the GRE revised General Test (computer-based and paper-based) once every 30 days, and up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. If you are taking only the paper-based GRE revised General Test or a GRE Subject Test, you may take them as often as they are offered.
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