Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 04062264 (posted Jun. 22, 2004)"
Following is the text of a notice received by some companies from the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, India, regarding the end of "drop box" processing of nonimmigrant visas by the U.S. Consulates in India.
"Dear BEP Member:
The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi will soon issue a press release announcing the end of the Drop Box procedure for non-immigrant visa applications at all four consular posts in India. The last day for the NIV drop-box in Chennai will be June 30, 2004. I am pleased to announce that as a special concession to the business community, members of the Chennai Business Executive Program may continue submitting non-immigrant visa applications to TT Services under the normal BEP procedures until July 15th, 2004. As of July 16, all non-immigrant visa applications in Chennai will require an appointment for a personal interview with a consular officer. Any non-immigrant visa applications received by TT Services after close of business July 15 will be returned so that the applicant may schedule an appointment for a personal interview.
The reason for ending the drop-box facility is that beginning in July 2004, U.S. consular sections in India will start electronically collecting biometric data (scanning index fingerprints) from all visa applicants, except those traveling on official government business or who are under age 14 or over age 79. The scanned fingerprint data collected at time of visa application will be compared with fingerprint scans at the U.S. port of entry to prevent the use of U.S. visas by imposters and by those wanted for criminal offenses.
This is a worldwide program required by U.S. law and has already been implemented in more than 150 U.S. Consular sections around the world. The U.S. visa offices in Frankfurt, Brussels, San Salvador, and Guatemala were the first posts to begin this program on September 22, 2003.
Next week, I will send an email that will outline the changes we expect in the BEP when biometrics goes live. I want to assure you that with biometrics implementation the BEP will continue to be a program as important and significant as ever before. I also want to assure you that, apart from the personal appearance requirement, there will be no substantial changes you will feel in the program as a member.
If you have any questions, please continue to submit them to email@example.com. Remember, many of your questions can be resolved by a careful reading of the Rules and Regulations and this email.
Erik C. Martini
American Consulate General
220 Anna Salai
Chennai, India 600 006
Tel.  (44) 2811-2000"