The United States is transitioning to a “paperless visa” system, phasing out the traditional method of stamping visas in passports. This move follows a successful trial at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, signaling a major change in visa procedures.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, Julie Stufft, explained, “We’ve initiated a small pilot for a paperless visa, maintaining the usual visa process but without a physical visa in the passport. This is a recent development, so a full-scale implementation isn’t imminent within the next year.”

The widespread adoption of the paperless visa system is expected to take at least 18 months or more. Stufft described this innovation as a significant step forward, noting that it might eventually involve an app for displaying visa status, eliminating the need for a physical visa.

Responding to whether Indian citizens can participate in this new system, Stufft expressed optimism for an early inclusion but acknowledged that it might take a year or more for broad application. She emphasized that this system differs from India’s e-visa program, which is mostly aimed at tourists.

Discussing the implementation process, Stufft mentioned, “Following our initial pilot, we’re now extending to other visa types. The choice of Dublin was strategic due to a U.S. facility at the airport for pre-boarding checks. We plan to gradually expand this system worldwide, taking it step by step.”

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