U.S. Mission to India to retire Business Executive Program

9 Mar 15

UNITED STATES

The Business Executive Program will be retired April 1, the U.S. Mission to India announced Monday.

The BEP was established in the 1990s to facilitate visa processing for Indian companies requiring a high number of U.S. business visas. In announcing the program’s demise, the U.S. Mission cited a number of changes within the U.S. Mission and the Indian business community.

Existing BEP appointments will be honored beyond the April 1 end date, but all BEP logins will be disabled as of that day. After April 1, all companies will be required to make appointments through the U.S. government’s Consular Team India appointments contractor at www.ustraveldocs.com/in. Those with urgent business needs are advised to apply for expedited appointments by visiting www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-expeditedappointment.asp.

The changes the U.S. Mission cited when announcing the end of BEP included outsourcing the process for making visa appointments, shifting to a system that allows for same-day interviews and creating a call center to answer applicants’ questions. The nature of international business itself has changed, the U.S. Mission said, such that many companies that are “industry leaders and strong U.S. commercial partners” are left out of BEP because of “BEP’s strict admission criterion.”

To qualify for BEP, companies were required to have physical locations in India and had to “demonstrate a need (for) a significant number of visas per year.”

BAL Analysis: The U.S. Mission framed the development as a way to best help all legitimate Indian business travelers by doing away with an outdated program. Though the program is ending, U.S. authorities have said they will “continue to prioritize business visas” for Indian business travelers to the U.S. BAL is unsure whether the demise of this “trusted company program” will negatively impact companies that were members of BEP. BAL will continue to follow the issue and update clients as needed.

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