The US Embassy in Paris has officially announced that it will be transitioning to a new visa appointment system on July 31, 2014. This US Embassy will be the latest to join the dozens of other US Embassies and Consulates worldwide that have already contracted outside companies to handle the logistics of various aspects of the consular process, including appointment scheduling and passport delivery, through call centers (as discussed in my post on scheduling visa appointments in London, Protima’s post about changes in Germany, and my AILA Athens Report post).
Exciting features of the new appointment system will allow applicants to pay the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) fee online by debit card or bank transfer, and for passports with visas and other documents to be returned to applicants by a courier service, able to be tracked online, at no cost to the applicant. No more trekking to La Poste to pay the MRV fee in-person by Mandat Compte or to purchase a pre-paid Chronopost envelope! These features promise to streamline the appointment process at the US Embassy in Paris once launched.
For the next nine days, until the new system launches, the US Embassy in Paris warns that “the new visa appointment system may cause some temporary delays[.]" After speaking to personnel on the visa appointment line this morning, we understand there is very limited availability for visa appointments between now and mid-August. Visa appointment dates for late August and September are not currently being offered, but will be made available at the time the new appointment system launches on July 31st. The US Embassy is encouraging applicants who do not have to travel by mid-August to wait until after July 31st to schedule their appointment, so they may use the new visa appointment system.
We are looking forward to using the new visa appointment system for the US Embassy in Paris; in particular, to the added efficiency it promises in the visa appointment process!