Indian Embassy, Consulates in US to have ‘Open Houses’ for passport, visa and OCI card issues

DC, NYC, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco centers to have fortnightly gatherings.

Ambassador Navtej Sarna addressing a reception in Fairfax, VA, where he addressed a new consular initiative. Photo by Geeta Goindi
Ambassador Navtej Sarna addressing a reception in Fairfax, VA, where he announced a new consular initiative. Photo by Geeta Goindi

FAIRFAX, Virginia:  Indian Ambassador Navtej Sarna announced a new initiative to redress grievances related to the Indin Embassy’s consular service which handles passports, visas and OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) cards.

Beginning in the first week of January, an Open House will be held every fortnight at the Indian Embassy in Washington as well as the five consulates located in New York, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco, to tackle the teething problems in consular matters. The website of the embassy and consulates will display a designated date and time at which members of the community can discuss such issues with a senior official proficient in consular affairs.

Sarna announced the initiative here on Sunday at a reception hosted by the Indian American community to welcome the new envoy and to bid farewell to Deputy Chief of Mission Taranjit Singh Sandhu, who has been appointed as the new Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.

Sarna dwelt at some length on how Indian Americans who migrated to America some three decades ago felt cut-off from their motherland.  With rapid advances in communication, technology, that feeling of isolation is all in the past and they now feel like an integral part of India’s political and economic development, he noted.

“Accordingly, the relationship between the Indian Embassy and community has changed entirely”, he told the gathering. “Today, we are in close partnership. Our doors are always open.  We see your strength and hopefully you see some utility in us. We would like to chalk up plans and programs in which we work together with the community, in which we have open, honest conversations. Our larger objective is the same – We are strengthened, all of us are strengthened, if India-US relations are strengthened.”

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