The visa application process at the US embassy in Cairo is set to change from 4 October with a transition period in effect from 15 September.
The new system is part of the Cairo embassy's efforts to streamline the visa application process, and is already in use in several countries. The embassy says the amendments will make it easier for applicants to schedule visa interview appointments, pay visa processing fees and monitor the status of their applications.
From 15 September the Commercial International Bank (CIB) will cease to issue receipts for visa applications until the embassy's full switch-over to the new system on 4 October. During the transition period applicants can use receipts received before 15 September to schedule appointments through Vodafone.
From 4 October applicants can receive receipts from CIB through the new system, and then schedule an appointment. Applicants will be charged the unchanged visa processing fee of $160 for most non-immigrant visa types, and will still be able to pay in cash at any CIB bank branch.
The new system does away with some of the red tape and time involved in the old process. Applicants will no longer have to make visa interview appointments in person; a new online system will allow people to reserve visa interview appointments and check their application status. In addition, there is a free-phone call centre which applicants can use to book appointments or request information, tel. 090070600 any day from 08.00-20.00.
Another new feature is that it is no longer necessary for all applicants to collect their passports at the embassy in Cairo; those living outside the capital can collect their passports at any one of the country's 16 branches of express delivery company Aramex.
Full details can be found on the embassy's website.